NASA‘s subsequent Mars rover is due to land in only a few days, and a outrageous robot’s handlers can frequency wait.
The 1-ton Curiosity rover, a heart of NASA’s $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, is slated to hold down inside a Red Planet‘s Gale Crater on Sunday night (Aug. 5). Excitement about a large eventuality is building among a MSL team, many of whom have been operative on a goal for 5 years or more.
“I am positively anxious to have a possibility to land this booster on a aspect on Mars,” MSL arch scientist John Grotzinger, of Caltech in Pasadena, pronounced in a press lecture currently (Aug. 2).
Curiosity‘s categorical charge is to establish if a Gale area is, or ever was, means of ancillary microbial life. To get during this question, a corsair will investigate a rocks and dirt of Gale and Mount Sharp, a puzzling 3-mile-high (5-kilometer) towering that rises from a crater’s center. [Curiosity Rover: 11 Amazing Facts]
NASA officials call Curiosity a many formidable and means heavenly path-finder ever launched. It carries 10 opposite scholarship instruments, including a rock-zapping laser and rigging designed to brand organic compounds — a carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it.
Some of these instruments lay during a finish of Curiosity’s five-jointed, 7-foot-long (2.1-meter) robotic arm, that also sports a cavalcade that can gimlet 1 in. (2.5 centimeters) into Martian rock. No prior Red Planet corsair has been means to excavate so deep.
“This is a fist sailing methodical laboratory we’ve ever sent to any planet,” pronounced Michael Meyer, lead scientist for a Mars Exploration Program during NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “Any geologist would die to have something like this with them when they’re out in a field.”
While NASA and a MSL group are vehement about what Curiosity competence learn during a aspect operations, a corsair initial has to hold down safely Sunday night. Landing on another world is always a wily proposition, and Curiosity’s entry, skirmish and alighting might be some-more nerve-wracking than most.
Because a corsair is so big, MSL engineers had to come adult with an wholly new alighting process for Curiosity. They staid on a rocket-powered sky crane, that will reduce a corsair to a Martian aspect on cables and afterwards crash-land intentionally a brief stretch away.
The scheme might sound crazy — and demeanour crazy, as a NASA-produced alighting video called “7 Minutes of Terror” shows — though a Curiosity team, and NASA officials, are assured that it will work, and that a car-size drudge will shortly start a Red Planet rovings.
“I can’t wait,” Meyer said. “I only can’t wait.”
- Mars Rover Curiosity: Mars Science Lab Coverage
- Huge Mars Robot Armed With Laser, Cameras, Curiosity (Infographic)
- Mars Rover Landing: NASA Set for Curiosity’s Red Planet Arrival (Photos)
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