By Paul KvintaPosted 11.10.2012 at 5:26 pm 0 Comments
Most previous Mars landers used airbag cushions to prevent damage during touch-down. The Curiosity rover was too heavy for airbags, so a team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory created the sky crane. On August 5, the crane successfully lowered Curiosity 65 feet, using three nylon tethers, from a thruster-powered platform to the Martian surface. NASA may well turn to the system, which is scalable for different crafts, on future missions to Mars.
While the rest of us enjoyed an extra hour of sleep as daylight saving time ended Sunday, the scientists and engineers working with the Mars rover Curiosity were just glad to be back on Earth time. The rover team has finally stopped working on Mars time, just as they planned.