Originally posted by Arken
Building on the success of Curiosity's Red Planet landing...,[...]
To help you understand why the Curiosity landing was a success, contrast it with this example of a landing that wasn't a
Mars Polar Lander
on December 3, 1999, after the descent phase was expected to be complete, the lander failed to reestablish communication with Earth. It was
determined the most likely cause of the mishap was an improperly ceased engine firing prior to the lander touching the surface, causing the lander to
impact at a high velocity.
The curiosity landing procedure was a little complex and risky, and was one which had never been tried before, so there
was no guarantee of success...a lot could have gone wrong in the landing, and still could on a future rover mission.
A Big FAIL at the moment....
So what does it take to make it a success in your view? Little green aliens coming out of their
underground bunkers to wave at the camera?
The next rover sounds like it will probably be very much like the current rover (it will even use some of the leftover extra parts), but at least it
will get to see a different part of the planet. The surface of Mars may not be as diverse as that of Earth, but it's not the same everywhere.