We’re watching as people all around the world cheer on the Rover that could! The energy is palpable as we stop to wait for the OK, a signal that tells us Curiosity is on the surface and ON.
What we didn’t expect was to see images! Staring at the big screens, the question in the air was “what’s that?” followed by a cheer that broke like a wave as we realized it was an image Curiosity was sending back from Mars.
photo credit: JPL
Having spent a portion of the afternoon volunteering at Planetfest, the Planetary Society’s exhibition and lecture event, we hunkered down to watch MSL make it’s descent.
Here’s NASA’s quick look at “Fast Facts” on the Curiosity Rover:
Rover name: Curiosity rover
Size: About the size of a small SUV — 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall — (about 3 meters long (not including the arm), 2.7 meters wide, and 2.2 meters tall), or about the height of a basketball player.
Arm Reach: About 7 feet (2.2 meters)
Weight: 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds)
Features: Geology lab, rocker-bogie suspension, rock-vaporizing laser and lots of cameras
Mission: To search areas of Mars for past or present conditions favorable for life, and conditions capable of preserving a record of life
7:02 a.m. PST, Nov. 26, 2011
(10:02 a.m. EST)
10:32 p.m. PDT, Aug. 5, 2012
(1:32 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6, 2012)
Length of mission on Mars: The prime mission will last one Mars year or about 23 Earth months.
Follow Your Curiosity:
Mission Fact sheet: Download theMars Science Laboratory Fact Sheet (PDF, 562 KB)
A great look at what needs to go exactly as planned in order for the MSL to survive its descent and landing to complete it’s mission.
Have you ever wondered what we look like from the Red Planet? Imagine, standing on the rust covered surface of Mars and waiting for the Earth to rise; this is what you’d see.
“This full-resolution self-portrait shows the deck of NASA’s Curiosity rover from the rover’s Navigation camera. The back of the rover can be seen at the top left of the image, and two of the rover’s right side wheels can be seen on the left. The undulating rim of Gale Crater forms the lighter color strip in the background. Bits of gravel, about 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) in size, are visible on the deck of the rover.