Mars Curiosity Rover Due To Land

Mars Curiosity Rover due to land circa 7 hours from this post, so it should be landing elegantly or splatting into the red Martian surface around 7am tomorrow morning GMT. The landing sequence itself is quite interesting as it involves using a parachute and then something called a skycrane which involves the rover being lowered down from a hovering platform.

NASA - Mars Science Laboratory, the Next Mars Rover

Curiosity Closes in on its New 'Home'
Sun, 05 Aug 2012 12:20:24 AM GMT

With Mars looming ever larger in front of it, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and its Curiosity rover are in the final stages of preparing for entry, descent and landing on the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6). Curiosity remains in good health with all systems operating as expected. Today, the flight team uplinked and confirmed commands to make minor corrections to the spacecraft's navigation reference point parameters. This afternoon, as part of the onboard sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing, catalyst bed heaters are being turned on to prepare the eight Mars Lander Engines that are part of MSL's descent propulsion system. As of 2:25 p.m. PDT (5:25 p.m. EDT), MSL was approximately 261,000 miles (420,039 kilometers) from Mars, closing in at a little more than 8,000 mph (about 3,600 meters per second).

In this picture, the rover examines a rock on Mars with a set of tools at the end of the rover's arm, which extends about 7 feet (2 meters). Two instruments on the arm can study rocks up close. A drill can collect sample material from inside of rocks and a scoop can pick up samples of soil. The arm can sieve the samples and deliver fine powder to instruments inside the rover for thorough analysis.

The mast, or rover's "head," rises to about 6.9 feet (2.1 meters) above ground level, about as tall as a basketball player. This mast supports two remote-sensing science instruments: the Mast Camera, or "eyes," for stereo color viewing of surrounding terrain and material collected by the arm; and, the Chemistry and Camera instrument, which uses a laser to vaporize a speck of material on rocks up to about 23 feet (7 meters) away and determines what elements the rocks are made of.

It'll be the most advanced Mars mission yet, we live in interesting times.


A video showing the landing sequence, it's pretty far fetched stuff and will be great if they can pull it off.
Yep, I'd mentioned this earlier today in another thread. I'll be staying up to watch the coverage. Hopefully we can at least get video from the Mars Descent Imager shortly after landing. If it lands successfully. 6 different vehicle configurations and 76 pyrotechnic devices have to function flawlessly...having worked with pyro devices on aircraft, I've seen them fail disturbingly frequently.

A video about what the rover can do.
If it's a Rover, it's bound to break down.
Eventually, but NASA's last two rovers went well over their designed lifespans. This rover is nuclear-powered rather than solar, I believe it's supposed to run for 2 years.
NASA has been trying to cover up this image taken by Opportunity...



Mars panorama by Opportunity.

Santa Maria Crater full colour.

If we do ever colonise Mars it'll be a very impressive planet to live on. There's mountains and canyons bigger than anything we have on earth.
Imagine standing at the summit of Olympus Mons...3 times taller than Everest.
hmmm. the first person to piss off olympus eh?
Imagine standing at the summit of Olympus Mons...3 times taller than Everest.
I don't mean to be a stickler, but although Olympus Mons is 3 times the height of Everest it also covers a vastly larger surface area, so you would basically be on top of a wide flat plain of ground, not a recognisable point like on Earth.
It's the same with Valles Marineris, if you stood in the middle of it you wouldn't know it, as it is 200Km's wide.

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