Saturday, August 4, 2012

America's NASA bets the farm on the one ton Curiosity rover.

NASA's Curiosity rover parachutes to Mars in a photo taken by the Mars Reconnaissance orbiter.
MUST-SEE VIDEO: Everything had to work perfectly.
VIDEO: Team member on impact of rover landing
White House Science Adviser John Holdren said the landing was "an unprecedented, technological tour de force. It will stand as an American point of pride far into the future."
"It's also just the latest example of a longstanding truth about the United States -- that even the longest of odds are no match for America's unique blend of technical acumen and gutsy determination."
By Associated PressPublished: August 5 | Updated: Monday, August 6, 4:34 AM
“Touchdown confirmed,” said engineer Allen Chen. “We’re safe on Mars.”
Minutes after the landing signal reached Earth at 10:32 p.m. PDT, Curiosity beamed back the first black-and-white pictures from inside the crater showing its wheel and its shadow, cast by the afternoon sun.
“We landed in a nice flat spot. Beautiful, really beautiful,” said engineer Adam Steltzner, who led the team that devised the tricky landing routine.

Before the Mars Science Laboratory, aka Curiosity, can begin exploring Gale Crater (as shown in this artist's conception), the rover will have to survive a landing NASA calls seven minutes of terror (see video).

In that brief time around 1:30 a.m. ET Monday, friction, a parachute, and an unprecedented "sky crane" hovercraft will help take Curiosity from 13,200 miles (21,200 kilometers) an hour to zero—if everything goes to plan.
"When we proposed this plan, we were almost laughed off the project," Adam Steltzner, NASA's chief engineer for the operation, says in the new National Geographic e-book Mars Landing 2012. "People said it couldn't possibly work."
The Curiosity rover is the largest and most complex of its kind, and so, by necessity, is its landing. What's more, the process couldn't be rehearsed, because Mars's atmosphere is so different from Earth's.
Making matters worse, the rover will truly be on its own as it falls. Because of communications delays, by the time we know anything is wrong, it'll be too late to fix it.
(On TV: Watch Martian Mega Rover August 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the U.S.National Geographic Channel.)

This is the best video: Mars Curiosity Rover FULL ANIMATION

From nasa.gov: Curiosity Closes in on its New 'Home' Sat, 04 Aug 2012 07:20:24 PM EDT 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).
Shatner Hosts Curiosity's "Grand Entrance" to Mars William Shatner (also known as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek movies) narrates the landing of Curiosity. A YouTube comment: "please don't crash, please don't crash, please don't crash, please don't crash"    NASAtelevision: Actor William Shatner narrates this thrilling video about NASA's Curiosity rover, from its entry and descent through the Martian atmosphere to its landing and exploration of the Red Planet in NASA's hardest planetary science mission to date.

4 comments:

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    1. From nasa.gov:

      "Curiosity, the car-size, one-ton rover is bound for arrival on Mars at 1:31 a.m., EDT on Monday, Aug. 6."

      "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)."

      The rover cost 2.5 billion dollars. NASA's scientists will be holding their breath during the 7 minutes of terror. I'm betting everything will work perfectly.

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  2. I was trying to find this in my fav's on youtube. Just about to give up and there it was. I think this is where I first was fascinated by Feynman and Degrasse Tyson.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGK84Poeynk

    Anyway, goodnight! Re-write that book tomorrow, lol.

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    1. Congratulations on discovering these brilliant people.

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