Curiosity Enjoys Flawless Landing On Mars

August 6, 2012 | By
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One of the first and larger images from Curiosity. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

It’s not often you get to sit and watch history being made, but that’s what happened tonight. Curiosity landed on the surface of Mars, inside Gale Crater, with the most complicated and sophisticated landing system ever sent to the red planet. The mission’s complexity has been likened to Apollo 11’s landing on the Moon in 1969.

There’s no shortage of reasons to be excited about this mission. Curiosity is huge: weighing in at just under a ton, it’s about the size of a car. Its science payload is incredibly impressive. 10 special instruments take up just 165 pounds of the rover’s weight, and include an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, cameras such as a descent imager, a radiation assessment detector, a rover environmental monitoring system and the capacity for in-site sample analysis. The primary mission, which is set to last two years, is going to study Mars to look for signs of habitability, rather than searching directly for life.

But that’s not what makes this mission so exciting. It’s the landing system — and most notably the sky crane — that’s captured the public’s imagination. And rightly so. It’s an insane system, but it worked exactly as designed.

Read more: Dvce

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Category: TECH

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