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 rover, also called Curiosity, is too big to land bouncing along airbags a la its predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity. And Mars doesn't have enough atmosphere for a parachute to slow it sufficiently. So engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory came up with this hybrid approach, involving a rocket-slowed descent and a "sky crane."
Curiosity will launch this fall and spend the next eight months traveling to Mars. It will enter the Martian atmosphere careening at 13,000 miles per hour, where its Apollo-esque heat shield will protect it from burning up. A parachute slows it down a bit before the rocket-powered descent stage. Then the sky crane lowers the rover, something that has never been done before .... just watch the super-realistic animation below.
Spirit and Opportunity were bouncing around like glorified beach balls when they landed, which was somewhat terrifying for any Mars enthusiast, let alone the rover teams at NASA and affiliated institutions. But a sky crane? It's hard to imagine the tension. Here's hoping it all goes as smoothly as the video.
i understand it will also be the 1st Martian Landing to be filmed as it is happening. If true, it will make an awesome movie (if successfully done, of course).
Ya know....it amazes me what modern technology can do. I did however find myself waiting for the familiar shadow of a large and hostile robot smashing the thing to pieces.
Sorry......Transformers stuck that image in my head.
I wish them all the best luck -- they are going to need it.
I'm looking forward to the sequel where they set a dirigible down into Jupiter's clouds.
When will they explore the pyramids of mars?
Hope it works we have 2.5 billion dollars and 7 years of time on the line. There is another way to land the MSL, it is more cheaper and simpler it was first proposed in 2007, it's called the SkyClimber here.
So, in the "super realistic" video.. the first thing that happens is you hear the rocket booster.
Yes. You HEAR sound, in "space".
Looks neat, just hope they are all using the same measuring system. Also what happens to the sky crane? I think they would want to use it as a stationary test bed for weather and communication system
@Aldron, is there a single conspiracy theory that you don't blindly believe?
Very nice video, except for sound in void.
When is this schedule to land on mars?
half of that money went into making this movie, lol, My question is where does the sky jet go? does it just crash after it runs out of fuel?
First... Murphy's law.
Second... did anyone else think that the entry vehicle looked a darn lot like a saucer UFO?
I can't even imagine the amount of precision and and attention its going to take to make sure every sequence of the landing go off smoothly. I wonder it all of that is automated or if some of it I.E the crane landing is manual controlled from earth.
Cool video :)
When that got the sky crane part "Ride of the Valkyries" popped into my head.
awesome can't wait to see live coverage of mars landing.
hope they fitting sky-crane with xtra cameras & use to hover over places of interest or just do low orbit fly over;
actually maybe could fit sky-crane with xtra hook & winch & send to hoist stuck rover out of dirt trap;then with a bit of luck & some sunlite, could get the little fella roving again
@siromar....it's not a conspiracy...there are pyramids on mars..especialy in the Cydonia region..where structures are 1:3:5:7 ratio apart...that usually does not happen naturally in nature.
Where are the solar panels?
Good question.This rover is nuclear-powered.
@Doc- Are you telling me that this sucker is nuclear?