The US space agency has just landed a huge new robot rover on Mars.
Nasa Rover Curiosity lands on Mars, The Vehicle known as Curiosity, was reported to have landed in a deep crater near the planet’s equator at 06:32 BST (05:32 GMT). It will now embark on a mission of at least two years to look for evidence that Mars may once have supported life.
Via Nasa’s Odyssey satellite, which is in orbit around the Red Planet, a signal confirming the rover was on the ground safely was relayed to Earth. The successful landing was greeted with a roar of approval here at mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
Too see what i mean check out the Video Below:
Nasa Rover Curiosity lands on Mars
Within minutes, the robot was returning its first low-resolution images. Started off by showing us its wheels and views to the horizon. Engineers and scientists who have worked on this project for the best part of 10 years punched the air and hugged each other. The rover even has a Twitter feed where it announced: “I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!”
After a 570-million-km journey from Earth, the descent through the atmosphere had been billed as the “seven minutes of terror”. The time it would take to complete a series of high-risk, automated maneuvers that would slow the rover from an entry speed of 20,000km/h to allow its wheels to set down softly.
The Curiosity team had to wait 13 stressful minutes for the signals from Odyssey and the lander to make their way back to Earth.
Adam Steltzner, who led the descent operation said,“It looked at least with my eyeball that we landed in a nice flat spot. Beautiful..”
The JPL director, Charles Elachi, added: “Tonight was a great drama that was played. I felt like I was in an adventure movie but I kept telling myself this is real; and what a fantastic demonstration of what our nation and our agency can do.”
This is the fourth rover Nasa has put on Mars, but its scale and sophistication dwarf all previous projects. Its biggest instrument alone is nearly four times the mass of the very first robot rover deployed on the planet back in 1997.
Curiosity has been sent to investigate the central mountain inside Gale Crater that is more than 5km high. It will climb the rise, and, as it does so, study rocks that were laid down billions of years ago in the presence of liquid water. The vehicle will be scouring Mount Sharp in the crater’s centre looking for evidence that past environments could have favored microbial life.
The Goals Nasa set up for Curiosity are as Follows:
- (A) Curiosity will trundle around its landing site looking for interesting rock features to study. Its top speed is about 4cm/s
- (B) This mission has 17 cameras. They will identify particular targets, and a laser will zap those rocks to probe their chemistry
- (C) If the signal is significant, Curiosity will swing over instruments on its arm for close-up investigation. These include a microscope
- (D) Samples drilled from rock, or scooped from the soil, can be delivered to two hi-tech analysis labs inside the rover body
- (E) The results are sent to Earth through antennas on the rover deck. Return commands tell the rover where it should drive next
Initially, the rover is funded for two Earth years of operations. But many expect this mission to roll and roll for perhaps a decade or more.
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