One Step Closer: Mars Rover Makes Touchdown
August 5, 2012 -- Santa Cruz News Network -- Mission successful: NASA's Curiosity rover has touched down on the red planet. The projects' self-proclaimed herd of nerds hopes to study evidence of microbial life having populated the planet. The Curiosity rover is loaded with 75 kg of sampling tools including a laser that can zap rocks and determine their chemical makeup.
Against the Odds, Curiosity Is Safe & Sound
Tom Holcomb, a leader on the rover project, told the BBC that his team was confident about having a successful landing. Still, behind the scenes other insiders guessed a 40% chance of success. More than half the rovers launched by NASA and the ESA have met with expensive demises. Yet Curiosity was launched at an ideal trajectory, remained on course and survived a journey of 570,00,000 kilometers (354 million miles). An hour ago, the vessel slowed from approximately 12,000 mph to a turtle's pace within seven minutes for a soft landing.
An electronic signal confirming the rover's arrival at Gale Crater was received at approximately 5:30 a.m. GMT.
Facts About the Mars Curiosity Mission
- It's devoted to the search for evidence of life being sustained on Mars.
- The project cost US$2.5 billion.
- Plutonium generators can power the rover for 14 years or more.
- The rover is equipped with tools that can drill, test, and organize samples of soil, rocks and the air.
Animation of Mars Rover Landing
Diagram of Mars Rover Curiosity
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