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Newest Mars Rover "Curiosity" Given a Go For Launch Saturday (Nov. 26) + Mission Overview

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posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 09:03 PM

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).

Here is an overview of the mission:
Mission Overview


MSL Pre-Launch Feature

Atlas Launch Vehicle Fact Sheet - PDF [opens directly to a pdf]

Rover Size

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:


Landing Procedure

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 !)

Landing Site

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.

Source: NASA's Next Mars Rover to Land at Gale Crater

In Action on Mars

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 battery,

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.

Source: MSL Fact Sheet - PDF opens directly to a pdf file]

Interestingly, due to the Nuclear Material being launched, special care is being taken to ensure public safety:
Mars Science Laboratory Launch Nuclear Safety [opens directly to a pdf file]

The Rover -- Instruments

Here is some info on Curiosity's instruments:


More info on the instruments in this Wikipedia Article:
Wikipedia - Mars Science Laboratory

edit on 11/24/2011 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 09:05 PM
This is going to be so cool.

I hope to hell.

Much more detailed science. Much better imaging But they're Martian rocks!
edit on 11/24/2011 by Phage because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 09:10 PM
Chalk one up in the name of science!

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)

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 09:18 PM
Man and Mars. We seem to have some weird obsession with it. Mars is bad luck, he hates us! I wish we'd (or at least the Russians
) should leave it alone.
edit on 24-11-2011 by moondancer811 because: sp

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 09:23 PM
I failed to include this link to the JPL Mission Website, but this site is so all-inclusive that perhaps I should put it in a separate post so it doesn't get lost in the OP:

JPL Mars Science Laboratory Website Link

There's a lot of great information on that website.

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 09:48 PM

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.

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 09:52 PM
reply to post by Jermicide

I really hope we find like 12 faces this time around, would simply make my day.

Oh, don't worry. People will. Trust me, they will.

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 09:58 PM
reply to post by Phage

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?

Well that and zombies.....

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 10:09 PM
This is so cool. that landing is crazy complicated and I hope to heck this works according to plan. This is great.

Budget and Other Issues make me fear these may be the last of these type of big brain, big research missions until the late 20's... I hope not

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 10:40 PM
reply to post by Soylent Green Is People

Lets put the "Grunt" to shame.

First Star to the Left, Straight on till Morning.

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 10:41 PM
reply to post by Wildmanimal

First star to the right.
You know that's from Peter Pan, right?
I know Kirk said it but...

edit on 11/24/2011 by Phage because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 10:42 PM
reply to post by Landru

You are not of the body.

You must be Destroyed.
edit on 24-11-2011 by Wildmanimal because: typo

posted on Nov, 24 2011 @ 10:48 PM
reply to post by Phage

Right Right, All is Good Phage.

From the miserable bowels of the earth, you shall duly be enshrined.

Remember? Best, Wildmanimal

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 11:50 AM
Mars Science Laboratory "Curiosity" news conference today (Friday Nov. 25) at 1:00 PM EST (18:00 UT/GMT)

'Why Mars Excites and Inspires Us' News Conference

See it here:

or here:

edit on 11/25/2011 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 11:58 AM
Truely awesome!

sarcasm /on - I cant wait to see the newest in high def blurry pictures!
sarcasm /off

For real though, It will be landing in august (hopefuly), and my birthday is in august! What a gift!

edit on 25-11-2011 by LeoStarchild because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 12:06 PM
This is going to be so very cool!! I want us to colonize mars, to get a nice population going so we can build some pyramids and giant faces and stuff!!

To those that laugh at the idea that they are already there, well, fair enough but i would Sooo love to see those same people admit they were wrong if something did come up about it.

I don't mind rejecting something that has proof that it's not true behind it but i think it's a bit silly to reject something when there is no proof to back up a claim of 'false'.

No phage, i'm not picking a fight, i can't compete with your cybernetically enhanced brain... i can't even spell!

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 12:29 PM
I'll be taking photos at the launch tomorrow and then track it outbound from earth later that night (if the weather allows). Hopefully it launches on-time, otherwise I'll probably miss it.

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 12:36 PM
Too bad the MSL is stuck on a rocket, having to now wait for a 'Launch Window'.

If NASA had used this to deliver it, it would be on Mars by now...


posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 12:41 PM
reply to post by Raivan31

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.

posted on Nov, 25 2011 @ 02:02 PM
Prediction #1 - While being lowered by the "space crane" a gust of wind causes the cables to tangle resulting in a mission failure.

Prediction #2 - If it lands where it supposed to land without malfunction, they will find life.

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