The Mars Science Laboratory
A story I’ve been following and reading up a lot on lately is the Mars Science Laboratory mission. On November 26, 2011, NASA launched Curiosity, a large Mars rover into space towards Mars. It took roughly eight and a half months to get to Mars where it performed a multi-stage descent onto the red planet. The landing involved a parachute, rocket thrusters, and a sky crane that flew away after the rover touched down.
The Rover itself is also very impressive. It has seventeen cameras some of which are designed for navigation, hazard avoidance, Mars panaromic photos, microscopic images and the rovers descent. Some of the tools onboard the rover include a radiation detector, neutron source and detector, Meteorological package and ultraviolet sensor, a X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence instrument and a organics and gases analyzer. The landing site chosen for Curiosity was near Gale Crater’s, Aeolis Mons, a 18,000 ft tall mountain.
Since the rover has landed it has taken many great photos of the martian landscape. Below is my favorite photo taken so far. Our very same sun rising over Mars that looks to be a little bit more distant than we’re used to seeing. Also, relive the landing with the video below.