Curiosity Rover on a Mission to Mars
Appropriately named, Curiosity, NASA newest Mars Rover heads on a Mars mission this weekend by the launch system, Atlas V in pursuit of answers. It will be the most advanced interplanetary Mars Rover traveler ever. So much so, that it won the “Best of What’s New” award at the 2011 PopSci. The improvements of NASA to Curiosity Rover hails in comparison to its predecessor. The Mars Rover is equipped with a guided landing system, a precise landing experience is expected. The robot will roam around in search of chemical ingredients of life, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and/or hydrogen which has never been possible before on a Mars mission.
The Excitement Of NASA
Ashwin Vasavada, MSL deputy project scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, had this to say about the abilities of the Mars Rover; “We will be able to do chemistry better than any other spacecraft on the Mars mission. We will know, element by element, what is there, and we’ll see chemical isotopes as well, where the mars rover was built. We will not only know what elements are there, but what minerals they formed into, and that tells you the exact temperature, the amount of water around, and the environmental conditions in which those minerals formed.”
The Mars Rover Robot Mission To Mars
The near perfect record of Atlas V will serve as the launch pad for Curiosity Rover this Saturday from NASA Cape Canaveral and will take 8 1/2 months to arrive at begin its Mars Mission. Amazingly, the Mars Rover is will parachute down to the Gale Crater hoping for a smooth landing as it embarks on its mission on Mars. As Curiosity Rover approaches his decent onto Mars, the parachute will break away allowing for a wheels-first grounding. The Mars Rover will then cut the lines of the hovercraft and it flies away and safely crash. This will be captured on a HD video and follow with the robot taking pictures of Mars.
NASA says, once on the Red Planet, the Mars Rover it will begin taking some pictures of mars with a 3D HD panoramic pictures of the surroundings, and pinpoint some interesting things to look at. Between the enjoyment of having an entire planet to itself (well, maybe) and the opportunity to get some much needed “still-time” from traveling for nearly a year straight, the Mars Rover will begin to zap holes using precise lasers into rocks collecting vital information that can better explain if Martians ever existed. The Mars Rover has several other responsibilities to carryout during its 2 year voyage including trying to find water on Mars.
How awesome is the Curiosity Rover Mars Mission? One of the most exciting robotic news of 2011 in my opinion. The possibilities are enormous in not only helping us answer questions about the Red Planet but also have those questions, answered by a Mars Rover that is a R-O-B-O-T! Who know, maybe they’ll make a Robot Movie about this exploration.
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Check out this cool video reenactment of the NASA Mars Rover preparing for landing and beginning his Mars Mission.