Skip to comments.Mars rover Curiosity nears make-or-break landing attempt
Posted on 08/05/2012 3:07:52 AM PDT by Berlin_Freeper
PASADENA, Calif., Aug 5 (Reuters) - The Mars rover Curiosity, on a quest for signs the Red Planet once hosted the building blocks of life, streaked into the home stretch of its eight-month voyage on Sunday nearing a make-or-break landing attempt NASA calls its most challenging ever.
Curiosity, the first full-fledged mobile science laboratory ever sent to a distant world, was scheduled to touch down inside a vast, ancient impact crater on Sunday at 10:31 p.m. Pacific time (1:31 a.m. EDT on Monday/0531 GMT on Monday).
Mission control engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles acknowledge that delivering the one-ton, six-wheeled, nuclear-powered vehicle in one piece is a highly risky proposition, with zero margin for error.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
Can’t wait for the live thread tonite.
The clock is counting down.
Just which they'd chosen a name far more worthy of such a great endeavor than "Curiosity."
If it fails...you know what the headlines will all read...some variation fo "Curiosity killed the ....."
T minus 19 hours and counting..!!!
Mars has been beautiful this summer, high and bright in the sky about 11 PM...
But I don’t have much faith in this whole “space elevator” farkle idea...
Failure is not an option.
Watch live online> http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate/
That’s some kind of delivery system there. Interesting...
This may seem silly, but the landing time is part of the problem with NASA. Public relations. They are doing absolutely the coolest, most sophisticated landing in the history of the space program at 1:30am EST. It would been so easy to adjust the time at launch, in flight, etc... for the most publicity.
Next, they couldn’t build cameras (web camera size) and transmitters in the stages of the landing modules? They said they might not know for hours if they are successful. Imagine how cool it would be if they recorded and sent landing videos of the stages after the heat sink is blown away.
“The Mars rover Curiosity, on a quest for signs the Red Planet once hosted the building blocks of life”
NASA seems to be all about the search for “life”
I would think making a habitat on the moon or even Mars would be more important.
If they find microbes in rock, does it really make a difference?
I read that two of the orbital platforms we have around Mars are in position and will be transmitting low-res, low-speed real time images from orbit.
I don’t think any of us plebes will see them, but they should have confirmation very quickly.
When I read about everything that has to go right for that thing to land properly, the more I think about the cat that curiosity killed.
It’s for the Muslims!
I agree. The last thing we want to find is life if we ever hope to go there.
From the press information PDF - this should be pretty interesting..
Mars Descent Imager (MARDI)
During the final few minutes of Curiositys flight to the
surface of Mars, the Mars Descent Imager, or MARDI,
will record a full-color video of the ground below. This
will provide the Mars Science Laboratory team with information
about the landing site and its surroundings, to
aid interpretation of the rovers ground-level views and
planning of initial drives. Hundreds of the images taken
by the camera will show features smaller than what can
be discerned in images taken from orbit.
The video will also give fans worldwide an unprecedented
sense of riding a spacecraft to a landing on Mars.
MARDI will record the video on its own 8-gigabyte flash
memory at about four frames per second and close to
1,600 by 1,200 pixels per frame. Thumbnails and a few
samples of full-resolution frames will be transmitted to
Earth in the first few days after landing. The nested set
of images from higher altitude to ground level will enable
pinpointing of Curiositys location. The pace of sending
the rest of the frames for full-resolution video will depend
on sharing priority with data from the rovers other
The full video available first from the thumbnails in
YouTube-like resolution and later in full detail will
begin with a glimpse of the heat shield falling away from
beneath the rover. The first views of the ground will
cover an area several kilometers (a few miles) across.
Successive frames taken as the vehicle descends will
close in and cover successively smaller areas. The video
will likely nod up and down to fairly large angles owing
to parachute-induced oscillations. Its roll clockwise and
counterclockwise will be smaller, as thrusters on the
descent stage control that motion. When the parachute
is jettisoned, the video will show large angular motions
as the descent vehicle maneuvers to avoid re-contacting
the back shell and parachute. Rocket engine vibration
may also be seen. A few seconds before landing, the
rover will be lowered on tethers beneath the descent
stage, and the video will show the relatively slow approach
to the surface. The final frames, after landing, will
cover a bath-towel-size patch of ground under the frontleft
corner of the rover
Holy cow .. that is some simply amazing tech. I hope they pull it off, and why isn’t this landing being shown on live tv at a better time? Couldn’t they have chosen a different launch window to arrive when more people could view it? 130 am EST isn’t exactly going to garner a ton of viewership.
Since when does NASA do space exploration? I thought their job was to coddle the Muslims these days.
I keep thinking: What if the upper part lands atop the rover?
A space elevator tethered to a world with muslims on it is a very, very suicidal idea.
NASA must know something the rest of us dont.