Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Curiosity Before Mars: Seven Minutes of Terror
Posted on 07/31/2012 4:57:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: Next week at this time, there may be an amazing new robotic explorer on Mars. Or there may be a new pile of junk. It all likely depends on many things going correctly in the minutes after the Mars Science Laboratory mission arrives at Mars and attempts to deploy the Curiosity rover from orbit. Arguably the most sophisticated landing yet attempted on the red planet, consecutive precision events will involve a heat shield, a parachute, several rocket maneuvers, and the automatic operation of an unusual device called a Sky Crane. These "Seven Minutes of Terror" -- depicted in the above dramatic video -- will begin on Monday, August 6 at about 5:24 am Universal time, which occurs on Sunday night, August 5 for western North Americans. If successful, the car-sized Curiosity rover will rest on the surface of Mars, soon to begin exploring Gale Crater to better determine the habitability of this seemingly barren world to life -- past, present, and future. Although multiple media outlets may cover this event, one way to watch these landing events unfold is on the NASA channel live on the web.
(Excerpt) Read more at 126.96.36.199 ...
Landing this one will be earning their money.
but what's important is, how will it make muslims feel about themselves?
I’ve fixed a lot of things in my day. I’ve made broken-down car engines work. I’ve rebuilt an old scooter from scratch. I’ve built houses. I work as an engineer, and there’s nothing more satisfying than fixing something that’s broken. There’s nothing more satisfying than solving a complex problem.
These guys make what I do look like Erector sets and Lego Technics. This plan is insanely ambitious, if not downright improbable, but our great minds, the men and women who make America’s space program great, will make this work.
I will be checking for the results of this on the morning of August 6th with great anticipation. This is awe inspiring.
Hopefully it will make them feel insignificant.
Hey, as long as they *hit the planet* they’re ahead of the game. :’) The miss rate is, basically, ridiculous. The Russians are the worst at it; and of course, bad luck plays a role, such as when the Russians got a successful capture for an orbiter, they turned the cameras on just in time to see a formerly unknown “moon” of Mars (basically, a chunk of space debris in orbit around Mars) coming directly for it. Boom, no more probe. :’)
That’s the problem with unmanned missions. Those last minute corrections are too late or impossible.
We either need to send men or get to work on real artificial intelligence.
Geez, the old airbag thing seems a lot less complicated.
Mars is far away from here. I hope that the landing is successful but I will not know until August 5.
Allah will be pleased with MASA....if he allows this to land.
Unmanned missions/spacecraft have obtained probably 10 million times more data/discoveries than manned missions ever accomplished and will continue to do so.
These unmanned spacecraft and planetary rovers have become invaluable in the exploration of our solar system and the universe.
They’ve been growing experience at landing on Mars. I think they’ll do it right. Of course, since there are no Muzzies on Mars, these missions don’t fit with NASA’s purpose, so there won’t be any new ones from now on.
I wish them the best, but my faith in NASA disappeared long ago, even before they decided global warming was their mission.
I hope to dine on crow over this issue. I’ll put some Chick=Fil-A sauce on it.
I was just thinking the same thing.
We have a number of successful landings/deployments on Mars. Why do we have to change to a more complicated and risky system?
If it aint’ broke why fix it?
The first US mission to Mars was in the 1960s, and resulted in a near-miss. Despite not entering orbit, the probe was instructed to take pictures while zooming by and send the data back to Earth.
If the math is off, it’s off — and with humans aboard, a near-miss means death, not to mention failure to carry out the mission.
IMHO the human missions to Mars should be to a permanent space station in orbit around Mars; from there astronauts could direct a whole series of rovers to explore large chunks of the surface basically in real time. And the long exposure to microgravity and size of the station and transit vehicles would mean dozens of astronauts in space all the time, either going there, coming back, or in orbit around it.
Once we’ve got the hang of this and have safety built into the program — that was the Von Braun model — the landing / reorbit vehicle could be sent and tested (sans crew) prior to the first human Mars landings, or boots on the Mars ground. For the surface, imho we’d need something like a big motor home, but with tank treads or the like. The crew would land near it, cross the surface on foot, board the vehicle, then explore the surface in a shirtsleeve environment. After some weeks and many miles, they rendezvous with a different reorbit vehicle and return to the station.
first close-ups (July 14, 1965):
more about the landing (AP source):
have I ever heard of this?
Mars One plans to establish the first human settlement on Mars by April 2023.
hey, wow! Nice illustration of this landing:
High-stakes Mars mission relies on untried ‘sky crane’
by William Harwood
July 31, 2012 8:32 AM PDT
Mars Rover Curiosity, Front View
This photograph of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, was taken during mobility testing on June 3, 2011. The location is inside the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. This mission will land Curiosity on Mars in August 2012. Researchers will use the tools on the rover to study whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.
I need to watch the video. The “sky crane” sounds like an odd cartoon contraption - I’m thinking Dr. Seuss. The craft hurdles towards Mars. At the last minute it stops, deploys the sky crane from itself, and then lowers itself by the sky crane to the planet.