Skip to comments.Curiosity Has Landed
Posted on 08/07/2012 10:04:24 PM PDT by neverdem
It all worked. The 500,000 lines of computer code went off without a glitch. The 76 onboard explosive devices popped off in sequence to the microsecond, throwing valves and cutting loose tether lines. So Curiosity rover's 7 minutes of terror had the happiest of endings. At 1:37 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, word came down: "Touchdown confirmed. We're safe on Mars." Signals from Curiosity, followed within minutes by the first crude images of wheels on the ground, confirmed that it had safely touched down in Gale crater on Mars near enticing water-altered sediments at the foot of 5-kilometer-tall Mount Sharp.
Aside from burnishing NASA's reputation with the public and with budget cutters in Congress and the Obama Administration, the success demonstrated two technologies key to NASA's ambitions on the Red Planet. Guided entry—an onboard autonomous navigation system—brought Curiosity to its target area, one almost an order of magnitude smaller than previous landing targets. And the new "rover on a rope" sky-crane system safely set down the largest mass ever delivered to another planetary surface.
All of this will ease the way for the committee advising NASA leadership later this month on how the cash-strapped agency might proceed with the scientific exploration of Mars.
I think it’s pointing the way, although of course it’s doing so by assiduously following the already established advances in computation and control. It all feeds back on itself. The presumed ( by me ) improvements in materials and physical design are dependent on computation, but the outstanding feature of this success, it seems to me, is the precision control of the sequence of actions and the regulation by feedback of the rockets. What we saw was the emergence of robotics as a revolutionary mode of operation.
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I understand what you saying no doubt about the robotic improvements are awesome and it took a lot of engineering ingenutiy to get thing to come off right while operating from around 34 million miles away. So hats to NASA here. Good job and well done.
Thanks for those links Neverdem.
Yet that poseur from Indonesia whose currently Occupying the White House, cuts NASA's budget to about $20 a week, just so he can buy votes from his Homies and commie Fellow Travelers.
This looks faked. You can obviously see the camera man’s finger over the lens. ;)