IT WORKED! At around 6:30 GMT today, NASA successfully landed the largest Mars Rover ever on the surface of the red planet. During this morning’s press conference, a spokesperson of the Mars ‘Curiosity’ called it their olympics, “This is our olympics, our team came here not knowing if they would win, but we have emerged victorious.”
Among the challenges the team faced, the largest one came this morning during what was dubbed “Seven Minutes of Terror” during which their large spacecraft must pass through the Martian atmosphere, deploy a parachute, fire retrorockets, and lower the car-sized rover on cables, to the ground.
Now on the ground, one of its tasks will be to explore the Gale Crater, seeking answers to the question of whether Mars was ever capable of supporting life in the past. During their celebratory press conference, the team also pointed out that this extremely promising mission cost US tax payers less than 7 dollars each. This comes as over the past few months much of the world has been fixated on the capabilities and potential of private space initiatives vs. public funded space research.
The Mars Curiosity mission maintains a fantastic array of social media and communication channels for the general public to follow the mission, its background, and its progress, 24 hours per day. It is perhaps one of the best multi media efforts to date, of any space mission, from any space program in the world.
Source: The Guardian
Photo: Los Alamos National Laboratory / flickr