Newest Mars Rover "Curiosity" Given a Go For Launch Saturday
The newest Mars rover -- The "Mars Science Laboratory" (MSL) or "Curiosity" has been given a "Go" for launch this coming Saturday (November 26). It
is scheduled to arrive on Mars by August of next year.
This rover is larger, faster, and more instrument-packed than previous rovers. Hopefully, Curiosity will go farther than Spirit and
Opportunity. Spirit traversed about 5 miles before getting stuck and shutting down. Opportunity is still going, and has traversed about 21
miles to date. Curiosity will probably go farther, even on its nominal mission, but just how far depends on the total length of the mission (i.e.,
possible extended mission).
Compared to other rovers that have been sent to Mars, the "Curiosity" rover is quite large. Here is a picture of mock-up versions of Curiosity (on
the right) compared to size of the a mock-up of one of the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity (on the left), and the size of the first
Mars rover, Sojourner, that roved several meters of Mars in 1997:
When the MSL arrives on Mars in August 2012, it won't be able to land using the same airbag method used by past Mars Rovers The MSL is too heavy to
to use that airbag system, so it will use another amazing method -- a "space crane" of sorts:
(The "space-crane" is a must see !)
The planned landing site is Gale Crater:
The target crater spans 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter and holds a mountain rising higher from the crater floor than Mount Rainier rises
above Seattle. Gale is about the combined area of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Layering in the mound suggests it is the surviving remnant of an
extensive sequence of deposits. The crater is named for Australian astronomer Walter F. Gale.
Here is an animated video giving an overall view of the MSL in action:
A video of the MSL getting prepped at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida:
The Rover -- Power Source
The larger size of the MSL Curiosity Rover means more experiments and a better power supply -- one that can help allow the rover to cover more ground
than Spirit and Opportunity. Curiosity will use a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG), which is essentially a nuclear
The rover’s electrical power will be supplied by a U.S. Department of Energy radioisotope power generator. The multimission radioisotope
thermoelectric generator produces electricity from the heat of plutonium-238’s radioactive decay. This long-lived power supply gives the mission an
operating lifespan on Mars’ surface of a full Mars year (687 Earth days) or more. At launch, the generator will provide about 110 watts of
electrical power to operate the rover’s instruments, robotic arm, wheels, computers and radio. Warm fluids heated by the generator’s excess heat
are plumbed throughout the rover to keep electronics and other systems at acceptable operating temperatures.
Waiting for the "why do we spend money on Nasa (.7%) of federal budget while we have homeless/starving people in this country" crowd. even though over
half the federal budget goes to social program spending
edit on 24-11-2011 by Fitch303 because: (no reason given)
It is scheduled to arrive on Mars by August of next year.
So, what you are telling me is that NASA has 9 months to go ahead and work up some fake photos/videos?
Yippee unmanned space flights!!!! So much easier to fake.
I mean really you think they would show us the video from 2.6 seconds after landing when some big robot bashing hairy green Martian comes barreling at
the camera like one of those "When animals attack" shows and everything goes to static? NO. Right now NASA is in a photo studio gluing rocks into
place just to trick us almost a year from now. Methodical pricks.
On a more serious note....
I really hope we find like 12 faces this time around, would simply make my day.
Oh I certainly hope so!!! Cause' ya know, once the ummmm economy straightens out and the uhhh... elections are over, and the Illuminati gets bored.
Oh, let me see... and the government stops being well, themselves, and a new Mayan chart comes out telling everyone the world will end only sometime
after 3466 AD. What else will there be for us to talk about on ATS other than Mars faces?
The burden of proof lies with those that postulate intelligently created architectural structures because science already has the evidence to counter
that notion. It is not in the interest of exploration to prove that pareidolia is imagined and incorrect, (a common dictionary already describes it),
it is the interest of science to find any indications of evidence of past or present organic life sustaining signatures. I'll be the first to change
my perspective when a day ever comes that solid proof of any unearthly construction or tangible evidence of an intelligent life other than originating
here on earth, is reveled on any other terrestrial space body, it just so happens everything so far points against it. I side with the tangible side
of things until that side proves me in error, tangibly.
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