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.
As we approach the Mars rover Curiosity’s landing Sunday night, we’re having a lot of fun seeing all the promotions — there are all kinds of videos, museum exhibits and road shows to help explain what the newest interplanetary explorer will do. Below is a great new one from the American Chemical Society.
A week before its scheduled landing, the spacecraft carrying the Mars rover Curiosity is just about done arranging itself in space. There’s time for two more trajectory correction maneuvers, but the one the Mars Science Laboratory pulled off over the weekend should be the last nudge the spacecraft needs before entering the Martian atmosphere.
Like an athlete performing his final pre-Olympic drills, the Mars rover Curiosity is flexing its landing systems, preparing for its nail-biting landing on Mars in just two and a half weeks. Today, the IMUs are being configured.
Last week’s solar eruption and resulting radiation bombardment--the biggest recorded in seven years--made its presence felt here on Earth via altered flight paths for some planes in the Northern Hemisphere and a certain degree of hand-wringing over the health of satellites in the solar storm’s path. But it also made an impression far from Earth aboard the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, currently cruising the interplanetary space between Earth and Mars.
With eight months to go before the Mars Science Laboratory reaches its destination, the spacecraft is already getting to work. All systems have checked out beautifully — so much so that NASA didn’t have to perform course-correction maneuvers as planned — and the spacecraft is already making measurements.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.