Curiosity In Flight
This morning the Mars Science Laboratory, aka. Curiosity Rover or MSL, successfully launched for Mars aboard an Atlas 5 rocket. The shot went off on time without delays and the Atlas V provided a great show for all, as usual. It’s a great rocket. Aside from some data issues during the Centaur Rocket burn phase, it didn’t look like they had any problems at all.
For now, it appears that the $2.5 Billion MSL is the last rover that NASA plans to send to Mars. They plan on another orbiter and then that’s it. I suppose this is to focus funding on the SLS to send up a manned mission, but what if that falls through? Maybe the next Presidential administration will change that…different discussion I know.
Bigger than my wife’s car, this is by far the largest and best equipped rover that Earth has ever sent to Mars to date. With a Mast CAM for taking wide-angle pictures and what they call a Hand Lens Imager for closeups. It also has a full suite of geekier science related stuff intent on studying the Mars environment and determining if the planet ever had an ecosystem that could support life as we know it. It carries a nuclear decay power source the size of a trash can to power it all and keep the Rover warm during the Martian winter. Click the link to the wiki above for details on all that.
It still has a long journey to travel, due at Mars in August of next year. You can be sure I’ll pay attention and write about any developments.
This great video simulation shows what Curiosity’s landing on Mars is supposed to look like when it arrives at Gale Crater next year.
Fun photo-op video comparing the size of Curiosity with that of previous rovers, if you can get past the cheesy music.
So what do you think–Worth it or not? Feel free to comment.
- Giant Nasa rover launches to Mars (bbc.co.uk)
- NASA counts down to launch of Mars rover (msnbc.msn.com)
- NASA Mars Curiosity Launch: Huge Rover Poised For Blastoff (huffingtonpost.com)
- NASA Probe Heads for Mars (abcnews.go.com)
- Curiosity on its way to Mars (blogs.nature.com)
- Mars rover Curiosity blasts off (cbsnews.com)
- Mars Rover Launch of the Day (geeks.thedailywh.at)
- NASA launches super-size Mars rover to red planet (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Massive Mars rover launches on mission to find signs of life (mirror.co.uk)
- NASA launches super-size Mars rover to red planet (mercurynews.com)
- Curiosity Rover On Its Way To Mars! (iwanticewater.wordpress.com)
- Mars Curiosity Rover Starts Search for Alien Life [Video] (inquisitr.com)
- NASA’s Curiosity rover is on its way to Mars (video) (engadget.com)
- NASA Launches Most Capable and Robust Rover to Explore Mars (prnewswire.com)
- Mission to Mars: NASA launches super-size rover to search for life (thestar.com)