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HomeCameraMars Curiosity rover celebrates 10 yr touchdown anniversary

Mars Curiosity rover celebrates 10 yr touchdown anniversary


Immediately NASA’s Curiosity rover celebrates 10 years on Mars, and it’s nonetheless going robust since its touchdown on August 6, 2012. As the primary of a brand new design of Martian rover together with Perseverance, Curiosity has not solely offered illuminating scientific details about the historical past and geology of the planet however has additionally demonstrated a number of engineering ideas which have made rovers greater and higher than ever earlier than.

While you consider a Mars rover, many individuals are picturing one thing small, just like the microwave-sized Sojourner which landed on Mars in 1997, or the golf cart sized Alternative and Spirit rovers which landed in 2004. However Curiosity marked the start of a lot bigger rovers, because it and Perseverance are car-sized and considerably heavier than their trailblazing brethren. This improve in dimension and mass implies that newer rovers can carry much more complicated scientific devices, turning rovers from pint-sized explorers which might gather solely fundamental knowledge into cell laboratories. That precept is the place Curiosity received its technical mission identify, Mars Science Laboratory.

A poster produced by NASA to celebrate the Curiosity Mars rover’s tenth anniversary on the Red Planet.
A poster produced by NASA to have fun the Curiosity Mars rover’s tenth anniversary on the Pink Planet. NASA/JPL-Caltech

An even bigger and heavier rover faces a much bigger problem, although, when it comes to how it may be landed on Mars. Earlier generations of Mars rovers have been coated in airbags and basically dropped onto the floor the place they might bounce round earlier than coming to a cease, with air within the airbags defending them from impacts. However Curiosity’s important mass made airbags ineffective, so a brand new touchdown system was developed.

The sky crane system which delivered each Curiosity and Perseverance safely to the Martian floor works utilizing a jetpack that fires thrusters to sluggish descent whereas the rover is lowered on a set of cables. As soon as the rover has touched down, the cables detach and the jetpack flies away to stop any tangles between it and the rover. This technique helps to put a rover in a particular and predictable location, not like the unpredictable bouncing of airbags, and it could possibly let down a lot heavier rovers safely.

Curiosity instantly captured the hearts of the general public and has produced beautiful pictures of the Martian panorama in addition to stunning pictures of clouds along with its work on the lookout for indicators of historical life and measuring the martian environment. A few of its hottest outreach tasks have included monumental high-resolution panoramas and movies exhibiting the Gale Crater, the place it’s exploring.

Mars continues to be a tricky surroundings although, and Curiosity has needed to face challenges like sharp rocks which have broken its wheels. To mitigate this situation, the rover driving staff is cautious about how they use Curiosity to make sure that as little injury as potential is completed to the {hardware} so it could possibly proceed working for so long as it could possibly.

“As quickly as you land on Mars, every thing you do relies on the truth that there’s nobody round to restore it for 100 million miles,” stated Andy Mishkin, Curiosity’s appearing venture supervisor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a assertion. “It’s all about making clever use of what’s already in your rover.”

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