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Curiosity on Planet Mars Searching for Alien Life
America's latest and perhaps last NASA endeavor lands on Mars in August (we hope). Yes, the search for alien life continues on this red planet. It only has cost $2.5 billion for the one ton rover called, Curiosity. Assuming a good landing, the rover will search for two years along the planet's equator under blue clouds and pink skies. It will drill and scan and poke holes for samples all being driven and controlled from millions of miles away on planet Earth. That, in itself, is an engineering miracle.
Curiosity's cost ran over $1 billion in budget is about to complete its nine month, 353 million mile voyage will hopefully parachute and use its thrusters safely to deploy the largest rover, about the size of an SUV. The seven minute descent from space is totally automated and NASA will not be able to abort or change anything. It lands on August 5th, after a 13,300 mph descent until it applies its S-brake maneuvers, which is another first. The whole complex landing will also be on video.
Worldwide, there have been 40 missions to Mars since 1960, no life has yet been found. Its first destination once landed is the 14, 700 ft. high mountain called Mount Sharp to drill for artifacts and sentiment. Samples will be analyzed in its own internal lab on board and report its findings.
The landing is filled with potential problems, let's hope this is not a billion dollar crash!