Mars Curiosity Safely Touches Down on Mars

Sunday, August 5, 2012


NASA Artist Rendering of Curiosity Descending Through Mars Atmosphere

Curiosity blazed through the pink skies of Mars, steering itself to a gentle landing inside a giant crater for the most ambitious dig yet into the red planet’s past.

NASA’s most technologically advanced, interplanetary rover will attempt the riskiest part of its journey to Mars: descending through the Martian atmosphere and nailing a new landing routine.

Nerves will be on overdrive Sunday night as the Curiosity rover attempts a dizzying “seven minutes of terror” routine that ends with it being lowered by cables inside a massive crater if all goes according to plan.

Allen Chen, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA which manages the $2.5 billion mission said:

“”Touchdown confirmed. We’re safe on Mars.”

The voyage took over eight months and spanned 352 million miles. The landing will be the trickiest part of the journey. Because Curiosity weighs nearly a ton, engineers drummed up a new and more controlled way to set the rover down.

The last Mars rovers, twins Spirit and Opportunity, were cocooned in air bags and bounced to a stop in 2004.

The plans for Curiosity called for a series of braking tricks, similar to those used by the space shuttle, and a supersonic parachute to slow it down. Next: Ditch the heat shield used for the fiery descent.

In a new twist, engineers devised a way to lower the rover by cable from a hovering rocket-powered backpack. At touchdown, the cords cut and the rocket stage crashes a distance away.

The nuclear-powered Curiosity, the size of a small car, is packed with scientific tools, cameras and a weather station. It sports a robotic arm with a power drill, a laser that can zap distant rocks, a chemistry lab to sniff for the chemical building blocks of life and a detector to measure dangerous radiation on the surface.

SOURCE: Ledger Enquirer

Link to: NASA Curiosity Website

Watch Live on: C/Net

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13 Responses to Mars Curiosity Safely Touches Down on Mars

  1. The Real Adam says:

    The Chinese plan to establish a lunar camp. From the moon, next up is landing men on Mars by 2020.

    We’re entering a truly thrilling period of space exploration. I’m happy to see humans reach further into our solar system.

  2. Brigadoon says:

    I was disappointed to see the Shuttle retire but I am very excited to see NASA begin an aggressive Mars program to replace it. I want to live long enough to see humans go to Mars.

  3. ajihani says:

    The 21st century is all about Mars. Kudos to NASA!

  4. Frank in Castaic says:

    I plan to stay up late to watch this. Providing I can find a news network interested in covering the Curiosity Mars landing.

    Cable news is more interested in yapping about Romney’s taxes or Obama’s birth certificate.

  5. Randy Arroyo says:

    If Curiosity finds fossils then life is not unique to earth and is likely, more common than we’ve been taught to believe. The presence of fossils will upset the religious belief that God place life on earth and only earth. Fingers crossed, Curiosity.

  6. feminazi says:

    When we landed on the moon, my mother and father were still alive and they were speechless. They had immigrated to U.S. following WWII. For them, the U.S. was the “new world,” a place of hope and promise and justice. My parents have since passed away but how much they would have loved this Mars landing.

  7. Joe in Colorado says:

    Brigadoon – The Chinese are saying a manned Mars mission is scheduled for 2020. That is only 8 years from now. You will live to see it. We will all live to see it and celebrate this monumental step for humanity. Congrats to NASA and to Curiosity for the safe Mars landing today. Let the exploration of our nearest neighbor begin. This is truly great stuff.

  8. Peace Nick says:

    This is a significant step for Mars colonization.

    I think, and I believe, in 50 or 75 years from now, humans will be living and working on Mars. Our destiny has always been exploration. Just as Columbus left Europe 500 years ago for the Americas leading to Canada and the United States.

  9. Marcus Ybanez says:

    Evidence of current or fossil life from eons ago will change our view of life in the universe.

    Organized religion continues to hold God chose earth to place life on. Of course, such dogma is preposterous on the merits so finding evidence of Martian life will cause religion to fall away and logic and reason to make a reappearance.

  10. Woodcliffe says:

    The fact is, deep space travel still takes too long. We’re sending rockets into space the way we did back in the early 1960′s. We need to develop a faster propulsion system to shorten the elapsed time it takes to travel from earth to Mars and beyond. Maybe nuclear? Warp Drive? Slip Drive? Deep space travel is just to slow to be viable.

  11. Marburg says:

    I’m proud to think the USA is known for something other than war and killing.

  12. Adirondacky says:

    The first pictures from Curiosity beamed back to earth look so cool. I am proud of President Obama, the American Olympic athletes and NASA. Marburg is correct. We have things to be proud of as Americans besides war. It feels good.

  13. Fran says:

    the $2.5 billion mission

    “”Touchdown confirmed. We’re safe on Mars.”

    Well I’m glad they are safe on Mars, because it’s a bloody mess here on Earth.
    If they want to colonize other planets, I recommend they keep the NRA out!

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