Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by AusQB, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. The Mars rover Curiosity, which was launched eight months ago, will touch down on the Martian surface on August 6 at approximately 6AM UTC (August 5, 11PM PST).

    Needless to say, it is by far the most advanced rover to be sent to an extraterrestrial planet containing highly complex compound extraction and analysis equipment, but what is so fascinating about this particular mission is the unique entry sequence.

    In the past, the rovers Spirit and Opportunity were simply sent on a direct trajectory into the atmosphere, the heat shield detached and the rest of the assembly continued towards the surface. The capsule then deployed supersonic chutes and inflated bags on the underside to absorb the force of the impact.

    Curiosity will be the first rover to graciously touch down on the surface with just its wheels in an incredibly complex and ambitious entry sequence:

    The animation depicts the capsule deploying its chute, separating the heat shield and then dropping the rover assembly. Retro rockets are instantly and continuously fired to slow the descent and maintain a hovering position over the ground while the rover itself is lowered by winches and cables to the surface. Once the rover has safely touched down, booster rockets are fired to propel the winch assembly clear of the drop zone.

    Unfortunately, no part of this entry sequence can be captured on film (Edit: Photos were taken from satellites and the rover itself after heat shield separation, but nothing was able to be shown live). The only footage we will receive will be low resolution black and white photos of the Martian surface after the rover has landed. High resolution colour photos will be sent about two days later. However, if you're really interested, there will be a live feed of the instrument telemetry.

    All information and multimedia can be accessed from NASA's MSL website:

    View raw images direct from Curiosity here:
  2. Marvelous engineering right there! Just pure awesome, and really inspiring to me as an engineer to-be! Thanks for the share Aus!
  3. Awesome, just awesome. Ill be watching.
  4. wow the difficulty of landing curiosity on a scale of 1-10 is a 20 O_O
  5. I can't watch it.... :( (because my brother is playing Xbox atm and whines like a giant baby) (one time he broke 3 controllers in one day and my headset)
    MissMadison910 likes this.
  6. You can view a 3D simulation of the mission here:

    It allows you to visualize the position and motion of the spacecraft either as a preview using expected data or use live telemetry data.
  7. I am watching it right now :) I am looking at the other planets though and listening to the lady talk about stuff
  8. 1 minute!
  9. WOOOOOOO!!!!!! HOOOOOO!!!!!
    vividOptimism likes this.
    vividOptimism and JabrZer0 like this.
  11. I also watched it. Well, listened to it. Good job to all involved.

  12. Achievements like this remind me of how advanced we are as a species and the incredible feats we can accomplish if we simply calm down and think about our place in the universe rather than dividing ourselves on our own planet. To think in the millions of years of human evolution and the thousands of years of modern civilization, we have gone from the first powered flight to sending a spacecraft 55 million kilometers and lowering a robot from a hovering aircraft on a distant planet in just over a century. If people continue to support and believe in space exploration, the advancements we could make as a united technological species in another hundred years could be exponentially prodigious.
  13. When people ask me where I see myself in 10 years, this is what I'm going to say from now on: "Remember that time we put a man on Mars? You will 10 years from now. And I'll get him there."
    MissMadison910 and AusQB like this.
  14. This is one of the first images sent back moments after touchdown while the direct communications link was online. It's a low resolution image taken from the front hazcam while the protective lens cover was still on. It is the same as the third image in my post above but scaled up so you can actually see it more clearly.

    First image from the rear hazcam with the protective cover on.

    This was the first image sent back after the protective lens covers were removed and Odyssey flew overhead allowing a relay communications link back to Earth. This is from the rear hazcam showing the rim of Gale Crater on the right side of the image.

    They were anticipating the first unobstructed image from the front hazcam which they expect would have shown Mount Shard, the mountain in the middle of the crater, but that data has not been received yet.
    Spiffiey likes this.
  15. This landed while I was at school today, I got to watch it on the library SmartBoard just before the end of school! Amazing, it's just so impressive!
  16. Was this something the teachers organized or did you have to get it running yourself?

  17. Can't wait for that.
  18. I must be nerve-racking these landings for those in mission command, everything is now beyond your control. If they wanted to change something it would take 14 minutes for the command to reach the lander and a further 14 mins for the response to reach earth, and we complain about lag. I love the sci-fi feel of the rover being lowered by a sky crane being kept aloft by thrusters.