After 30 Earth-days on the surface of the red planet, the Mars rover Curiosity has stretched its neck, zapped its first rock and taken its first strolls. More firsts are still to come in the next couple weeks — like scooping, drilling and baking rocks — but the rover is pretty much ready to go, spending the next two years trying to determine if Mars could ever play host to life.
The Mars rover Curiosity’s first roll was more than a cause for celebration — it will help pinpoint where the rover set down, and emblazon the name of its maker into the Martian soil. Curiosity’s wheels have holes arranged in the Morse code pattern for “JPL.”
More than just a scientific mission, Mars rover Curiosity's final, frightening descent stirred up plenty of emotions, from both the engineers who piloted it and from spectators around the world. We all held our breath as the rover went through the "seven minutes of terror" that was the landing--and then celebrated when news came of a successful finale. It was beautiful, and we've collected some of the best reactions to its descent, as well as some of the early pictures Curiosity sent back to Earth.
PASADENA, Calif. -- Space fans, raise a toast: NASA's laser-equipped, beefy-armed, car-sized rover is safe and sound on the surface of the Red Planet. A journey of 352 million miles ended in a supersonic plunge through the Martian atmosphere late Sunday night, and after seven minutes of terror, the Mars rover Curiosity unspooled from the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and alighted on the dusty surface of Gale Crater.
A chorus of radio beeps signaled the spacecraft's progress, and the Mars Odyssey orbiter transmitted a "safe landing" signal at 10:32 p.m. Pacific time that elicited whoops of joy from the people at Mission Control in California. With wheels down and antennae up, Curiosity is now ready to get to work, combing ancient terrain for signs of life in the Martian past.
"It's the wheel! It's the wheel!" a NASA engineer cried as the first image shot by the craft arrived on Earth. "Oh my God." Curiosity is on the surface!
PASADENA, Calif. -- The mood is increasingly electric here at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where worldwide media, dignitaries and hordes of scientists and engineers are gathered to watch the new Mars rover's landing attempt. The Mars rover Curiosity is three and a half hours from touchdown -- scheduled for 10:31 p.m. Pacific time, 1:31 a.m. Monday Eastern time -- and it's almost time to break out the peanuts.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 4:23 pm 0 Comments
From the Explorer I satellite in 1958 to the new Mars Science Laboratory rover set to blast off at the end of the year, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has built the country's most ambitious robotic space vessels. And every summer, about 280 undergraduates arrive there to participate in one of 16 internship programs for engineering or science students.
When parachutes and airbags won’t do the trick, you’ve got to land like a hovercraft, lowering precious cargo from a flying crane.
Check out this amazing new animation of NASA’s new Mars rover, the car-sized Mars Science Laboratory, on its harrowing journey to the red planet.
The Deep Impact probe, part of NASA's EPOXI mission, has successfully returned never-before-seen images of the comet Hartley 2 as it flew near Earth this morning, only the fifth comet nucleus ever visited by a spacecraft.
Less than half an hour after the probe reached its closest distance from the comet, about 435 miles away, a series of images completed the 23-million-mile trip from EPOXI’s spacecraft to computer screens in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.