Mars missions

926 views
846 views

Published on

Curiosity Has Landed on Mars

Published in: Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
926
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
31
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Mars missions

  1. 1. 4 August 2012 Last updated at 22:13 GMTShare this page Email Print2.2K Share Facebook TwitterNasas Curiosity rover edges closer to Mars By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News, Pasadena Communications from the rover during descentwill come to the Jet Propulsion LaboratoryContinue reading the main storyRelated Stories Gale Crater: Geological sweet shop Mars success depends on crazy landing Rover on course for Mars landingNasas Curiosity rover is on course to land on Mars on Monday, where it will search for clues inthe Red Planets rocks and soil about whether it could once have supported life.The robots flight trajectory is so good engineers cancelled the latest course correction they hadplanned.To land in the right place, it must hit a box at the top of the atmosphere that measures just 3kmby 12km.
  2. 2. Curiosity has spent eight months travelling from Earth to Mars.The robot - -also known as the Mars Science Laboratory - has covered more than 560 millionkm."Our inbound trajectory is right down the pipe," said Arthur Amador, Curiositys missionmanager."The team is confident and thrilled to finally be arriving at Mars, and were reminding ourselvesto breathe every so often. Were ready to go."The rovers power and communications systems are in excellent shape.The one major task left for the mission team is to prime the back-up computer that will takecommand if the main unit fails during the entry, descent and landing (EDL) manoeuvres.Continue reading the main storyCuriosity - Mars Science Laboratory Mission goal is to determine whether Mars has ever had the conditions to support life Project costed at $2.5bn; will see initial surface operations lasting two Earth years Onboard plutonium generators will deliver heat and electricity for at least 14 years 75kg science payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier US Mars rovers Equipped with tools to brush and drill into rocks, to scoop up, sort and sieve samples Variety of analytical techniques to discern chemistry in rocks, soil and atmosphere Will try to make first definitive identification of organic (carbon-rich) compounds Even carries a laser to zap rocks; beam will identify atomic elements in rocks Gale Crater: Geological sweet shop Discover more about the planets
  3. 3. The robot was approaching Mars at about 13,000km/h on Saturday. By the time the spacecrafthits the top of Mars atmosphere, about seven minutes before touch-down, gravity will haveaccelerated it to about 21,000km/h.The vehicle is being aimed at Gale Crater, a deep depression just south of the planets equator.It is equipped with the most sophisticated science payload ever sent to another world.Its mission, when it gets on the ground, is to characterise the geology in Gale and examine itsrocks for signs that ancient environments on Mars could have supported microbial life.Touch-down is expected at 05:31 GMT (06:31 BST) Monday 6 August; 22:31 PDT, Sunday 5August.It is a fully automated procedure. Nasa will be following the descent here at mission control atthe Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.The rover will broadcast X-band and UHF signals on its way down to the surface.These will be picked up by a mix of satellites at Mars and radio antennas on Earth.The key communication route will be through the Odyssey orbiter. It alone will see the rover allthe way to the ground and have the ability to relay UHF telemetry straight to Earth.And mission team members remain hopeful that this data will also include some images thatCuriosity plans to take of itself just minutes after touching the ground.These would be low-resolution, wide-angle, black and white images of the rear wheels.They may not be great to look at, but the pictures will give engineers important informationabout the exact nature of the terrain under the rover.A lot has been made of the difficulty of getting to Mars, and historically there have been farmore failures than successes (24 versus 15), but the Americans recent record at the Red Planet isactually very good - six successful landings versus two failures.Even so, Nasa continues to downplay expectations."If were not successful, were going to learn," said Doug McCuistion, the head of the US spaceagencys Mars programme."Weve learned in the past, weve recovered from it. Well pick ourselves up, well dust ourselvesoff, well do something again; this will not be the end."The human spirit gets driven by these kinds of challenges, and these are challenges that drive usto explore our surroundings and understand whats out there."
  4. 4. Curiosity is heading for Gale CraterThe mission team warned reporters on Saturday not to jump to conclusions if there was noimmediate confirmation of landing through Odyssey.There were "credible reasons", engineers said, why the UHF signal to Odyssey could be lostduring the descent, such as a failure on the satellite or a failure of the transmitter on the rover.Continued efforts would be made to contact Curiosity in subsequent hours as satellites passedoverhead and when Gale Crater came into view of radio antennas on Earth."There are situations that might come up where we will not get communications all the waythrough [to the surface], and it doesnt necessarily mean that something bad has happened; it justmeans well have to wait and hear from the vehicle later," explained Richard Cook, the deputyproject manager.This was emphasised by Allen Chen, the EDL operations lead. His is the voice from missioncontrol that will be broadcast to the world during the descent. He will call out specific milestoneson the way down. He told BBC News there would be no rush to judgement if the Odyssey linkwas interrupted or contained information that was "off nominal"."I think we proceed under any situation as though the spacecraft is there, and there for us torecover - to find out what happened," he said."Thats the most sensible thing to do. There are only a few instances I think where you couldknow pretty quickly that wed be in trouble."Step by step: How the Curiosity rover will land on MarsContinue reading the main story
  5. 5. As the rover, tuckedinside its protective capsule, heads to Mars, it dumps the disc-shaped cruise stage that hasshepherded it from Earth.5 August 2012 Last updated at 21:42 GMTShare this page Email Print3.1K Share Facebook TwitterNasas Curiosity Mars rover set for high risklandingComments (143) By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News, Pasadena
  6. 6. Nasa news conference after the Curiosity rover lands on MarsContinue reading the main storyRelated Stories Rover edges closer to Red Planet Gale Crater: Geological sweet shop awaits Mars rover Mars success depends on crazy landingOne of the most daring space missions ever undertaken is nearing Mars.Nasa will attempt to land its one-tonne Curiosity rover on the Red Planet to study the possibilitythat this world may once have hosted microbial life.The vehicle is packed with scientific instruments, including a laser that can zap rocks todetermine their make-up.Curiosity is currently hurtling through space, close to the end of a 570 million km journey fromEarth.Engineers describe its trajectory as near-perfect and they have passed up the last twoopportunities to make course corrections.The rover, tucked inside a protective shell, is due to begin its descent to the surface at 05:24GMT, Monday (06:24 BST; 22:24 PDT, Sun).A signal confirming it has landed inside a deep depression known as Gale Crater is expected onEarth about seven minutes later, at 05:31 GMT.But getting this audacious exploration project safely down will be a colossal challenge.
  7. 7. Two-thirds of all missions sent to the Red Planet have failed, a good many lost on entry into thethin but unforgiving Martian atmosphere.Continue reading the main storyCuriosity - Mars Science Laboratory Mission goal is to determine whether Mars has ever had the conditions to support life Project costed at $2.5bn; will see initial surface operations lasting two Earth years Onboard plutonium generators will deliver heat and electricity for at least 14 years 75kg science payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier US Mars rovers Equipped with tools to brush and drill into rocks, to scoop up, sort and sieve samples Variety of analytical techniques to discern chemistry in rocks, soil and atmosphere Will try to make first definitive identification of organic (carbon rich) compounds Even carries a laser to zap rocks; beam will identify atomic elements in rocks Discover more about the planetsAnd yet, the US space agency has high confidence that the high-risk descent strategy itsengineers have devised will deliver an intact vehicle to the surface.This strategy will use a sequence of fully automated manoeuvres to slow the fall from an initial20,000km/h at the top of the atmosphere to less than 1m/s at the moment of touch-down.The last stage in the sequence will see a hovering, rocket-powered crane lower the rover to theground on nylon cords.The manoeuvres have raised eyebrows because of their complexity, but the entry, descent andlanding (EDL) team leader, Adam Steltzner, has emphasised the amount of "reasonedengineering" that has informed the design."I slept better last night than I have in years, and I think thats because its done - whateversgoing to happen is going to happen," he said.
  8. 8. Nasa will be monitoring the drama from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena,California.It is here that mission control will receive the telemetry from Curiosity that has been bounced toEarth by the overflying satellite known as Odyssey.Engineers can only watch and wait, however. The 250 million km between Mars and Earth rightnow means there is a 13-minute lag in communications.The mission team knows that when it gets that first signal to say the rover has entered theplanets atmosphere, the vehicle will in reality have already landed or been destroyed some sevenminutes previously.Step by step: How the Curiosity rover will land on MarsContinue reading the main story As the rover, tuckedinside its protective capsule, heads to Mars, it dumps the disc-shaped cruise stage that has shepherdedit from Earth.Continue reading the main story1/8"It will be really exciting; it always is. Its electrifying but its tense," Doug McCuistion, thedirector of Nasas Mars programme, told BBC News."Everybody white-knuckles through these seven minutes of terror, and its named that for agood reason."This is the fourth rover Nasa has attempted to put on the surface of Mars since 1997.
  9. 9. But Curiosity - also known as the Mars Science laboratory (MSL) - dwarfs those previous effortsin size and sophistication.The rover will sample rocks for signs that Mars was once favourable to lifeAssuming the robot lands safely, it will spend 98 (Earth) weeks scouring Martian soils and rocksfor any signs that current or past environments on the planet could have supported microbial life.Gale Crater was chosen as the landing site because satellite pictures had spied sediments in thedepression that looked as though they were laid down in the presence of abundant water."We see a lot of evidence that water was on Mars in the distant past and flowed across thesurface for maybe millions of years," explained Ashwin Vasavada, the MSL-Curiosity deputyproject scientist."This mission goes one step further by trying to understand whether the environments in whichthe water persisted were habitable. Were there basic ingredients for life there? Were going tounderstand what the conditions were like when life was most likely in Mars ancient history."The rover is equipped with 10 advanced instruments. It also has a plutonium battery and soshould have ample power to keep rolling for more than a decade.
  10. 10. Engineers define an ellipse in which they can confidently landSuccessive landings have become ever more accurateVikings ellipse was 300km across - wider than Gale Crater itselfPhoenix (100km by 20km) could not confidently fit in GaleCuriositys landing system allows it to target the crater floorThe rovers projected landing ellipse is just 7km by 20km
  11. 11. (A) Curiosity will trundle around its landing site looking for interesting rock features to study. Its top speed is about 4cm/s (B) This mission has 17 cameras. They will identify particular targets, and a laser will zap those rocks to probe their chemistry (C) If the signal is significant, Curiosity will swing over instruments on its arm for close-up investigation. These include a microscope (D) Samples drilled from rock, or scooped from the soil, can be delivered to two hi-tech analysis labs inside the rover body (E) The results are sent to Earth through antennas on the rover deck. Return commands tell the rover where it should drive nextJonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on TwitterYour comments (143)More on This Story
  12. 12. Related Stories Rover edges closer to Red Planet 04 AUGUST 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Gale Crater: Geological sweet shop awaits Mars rover 03 AUGUST 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars success depends on crazy landing 29 JULY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars rover narrows landing zone 12 JUNE 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars has lifes building blocks 25 MAY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Giant Nasa rover launches to Mars 26 NOVEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT MSL-Curiosity: Biggest Mars mission yet 24 NOVEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars rover aims for deep crater 22 JULY 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENTRelated Internet links Curiosity - Mars Science LaboratoryThe BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sitesCommentsThis entry is now closed for commentsJump to comments pagination
  13. 13. Editors PicksAll Comments (143)+5Comment number 96.Brian Kemp6th August 2012 - 7:01This is absolutely fantastic! Good luck to the mission and one day itd be great to see Menand Women on Mars after science such as this.-59Comment number 47.jesus bermudez6th August 2012 - 5:56What an absolute waste of money and time. There is no life anywhere else. God createdthe universe and earth is the only planet which has life. It was created for ourconvenience. This money should have been spent on helping children in need.-10
  14. 14. Comment number 45.rioesk6th August 2012 - 5:54Absolutely beyond awesome. No one can doubt the dominance of the United States whenit comes to unique thought and implementation. The rest of us have a mountain to climbto compare with this.+20Comment number 16.Harrygh6th August 2012 - 0:44I am so glad this could be tried in my lifetime. Good luck NASA and Rover.+12Comment number 8.MacFanatic6th August 2012 - 0:19Just finished watching the documentary on iPlayer and must say its well exciting.Some people think that the landing is crazy but hey were human at the end of the day. Wedo crazy very well!Good Luck Curiousity!
  15. 15. Comments 5 of 6 Show moreSign in with your BBC iD, or Register to comment and rate commentsAll posts are reactively-moderated and must obey the house rules.Share this page3.1K Share Facebook Twitter Email PrintMore Science & Environment storiesRSS Shrimp shells aid uranium harvest Researchers outline state-of-the-art proposals to extract uranium - the raw fuel of nuclear power - from seawater, including ideas using shrimp and crabs. Mars rovers wind sensor damaged Bugs sunbathe to stay healthyTop Stories Greece needs more time for cuts Chemical weapons excuse for US New Four Paralympic flames kindled Dozens killed in Kenyan clashes Life term for Terreblanche murder
  16. 16. Features & Analysis Grannys sandwiches Why Italians are returning to traditional food Small world How long before you can be the ancestor of everyone? Fear of turmoil What the death of Meles Zenawi means for Africa Exit strategy Why Chinese millionaires are buying foreign residencyMost PopularShared 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Life lessons from the mosh pit 3. 3: Tracing the worlds common ancestor 4. 4: Teen invents cancer test using web
  17. 17. 5. 5: Beach rubbish reaches 23 tonnesRead 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Chemical weapons excuse for US 3. 3: Sitting straight bad for backs 4. 4: Woods death certificate changed 5. 5: Greece needs more time for cuts 6. 6: Nikons Android-powered camera 7. 7: Tracing the worlds common ancestor 8. 8: Dozens killed in Kenyan clashes 9. 9: Italians feast on traditional granny food 10. 10: EU hails Russias entry into WTOVideo/Audio 1. 1: Athens battles for tourists Watch 2. 2: Teen invents cancer test using web Watch 3. 3: Chinas rich seek overseas residency Watch 4. 4: Meles Zenawis body returns to Ethiopia Watch 5. 5: Nyad: Jellyfish sting like fire Watch 6. 6: One-minute World News Watch 7. 7: Prince Harry an easy target for press Watch 8. 8: Gates of Paradise restored in Florence Watch 9. 9: Meles Zenawi archive interview Watch 10. 10: Missouri residents on Akins row WatchBBC FutureHow many alien worlds exist?Play with our interactive graphic to find out... Read more...Programmes
  18. 18. Fast Track Watch Annoyed at Greece’s overseas reputation - how young Greeks are attempting to repair the damageAds by Google What Happens When You Die New theory says death isnt the end RobertLanzaBiocentrism.com Rokit - Water Rocket The World famous pop-bottle rocket for education and great fun.Buy now www.rokit.com Affordable Probe Station DC thru Microwave Probe Measurement Materials and Semiconductor www.jmicrotechnology.com3 August 2012 Last updated at 23:41 GMTShare this page Email Print540
  19. 19. Share Facebook Twitter Article written by Jonathan Amos Science correspondent More from Jonathan Follow Jonathan on TwitterGale Crater: Geological sweet shop awaitsMars roverComments (238)Grotzinger leads a team of several hundred mission scientistsMore from Jonathan Space - the new rock and roll Mars success depends on crazy landing Ahoy! Your ship is being tracked from orbit Satellites have an electric futureJohn Grotzinger is the project scientist on Nasas latest multi-billion-dollar mission to Mars.
  20. 20. Hes going to become a familiar face in the coming months as he explains to TV audiences theimportance of the discoveries that are made by the most sophisticated spacecraft ever sent totouch the surface of another world.The Curiosity Rover - also called the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - is set to land on Monday(GMT) for a minimum two-year exploration of a deep hole on Mars equator known as GaleCrater.The depression was punched out by an asteroid or comet billions of years ago.The lure for Grotzinger and his fellow scientists is the huge mound of rock rising 5km from thecrater floor.Mount Sharp, as they refer to it, looks from satellite pictures to be constructed from ancientsediments - some deposited when Mars still had abundant water at its surface. From orbit, Mount Sharp looks like Australia.Gale is named after an Australian astronomer.That makes it an exciting place to consider the possibility that those distant times may also oncehave supported microbial life.And Curiosity, with its suite of 10 instruments, will test this habitability hypothesis.Grotzinger is a geologist affiliated to the California Institute of Technology and he recently tookthe BBC Horizon programme to the mountains of the nearby Mojave Desert to illustrate thework the rover will be doing on Mars.He climbed to a level and then pointed to the rock sediments on the far side of the valley.
  21. 21. "What you see here is a stack of layers that tell us about the early environmental history of Earth,representing hundreds of millions of years," he told Horizon."They read like a book of Earth history and they tell us about different chapters in the evolutionof early environments, and life."And the cool thing about going to Mount Sharp and Gale Crater is that there well have adifferent book about the early environmental history of Mars."It will tell us something equally interesting, and we just dont know what it is yet," he said.Curiosity dwarfs all previous landing missions undertaken by the Americans.At 900kg, its a behemoth. Its nearly a hundred times more massive than the first robot roverNasa sent to Mars in 1997.Curiosity will trundle around the foothills of Mount Sharp much like a human field geologistmight walk through Mojaves valleys. Except the rover has more than a hammer in its rucksack.It has hi-res cameras to look for features of interest. If a particular boulder catches the eye,Curiosity can zap it with an infrared laser and examine the resulting surface spark to query therocks elemental composition.If that signature intrigues, the rover will use its long arm to swing over a microscope and an X-ray spectrometer to take a closer look.
  22. 22. Still interested? Curiosity can drill into the boulder and deliver a powdered sample to two high-spec analytical boxes inside the rover belly.These will lay bare the rocks precise make-up, and the conditions under which it formed."Were not just scratching and sniffing and taking pictures - were boring into rock, getting thatpowder and analysing it in these laboratories," deputy project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada, toldthe BBC."These are really university laboratories that would normally fill up a room but which have beenshrunk down - miniaturised - and made safe for the space environment, and then flown on thisrover to Mars."The intention on Monday is to put MSL-Curiosity down on the flat plain of the crater bottom.The vehicle will then drive up to the base of Mount Sharp.In front of it, the rover should find clay minerals (phyllosilicates) that will give a fresh insightinto the wet, early era of the Red Planet known as the Noachian. Clays only form when rockspends a lot of time in contact with water.Above the clays, a little further up the mountain, the rover should find sulphate salts, whichrelate to the Hesperian Era - a time when Mars was still wet but beginning to dry out."Going to Gale will give us the opportunity to study a key transition in the climate of Mars -from the Noachian to the Hesperian," said Sanjeev Gupta, an Imperial College London scientiston the mission."The rocks we believe preserve that with real fidelity, and the volume of data we get fromCuriosity will be just extraordinary."A roving laboratory for Mars General equipment: MSL equipped with tools to remove dust from rock surfaces, drill into rocks, and to scoop up, sort and sieve samples
  23. 23. Mast Camera: will image rovers surroundings in hi-res stereo and colour; wide angle and telephoto; can make hi-def video movies ChemCam: pulses infrared laser at rocks up to 7m away; carries a spectrometer to identify types of atoms excited in laser beam Sample Analysis at Mars: inside body; will analyse rock, soil and atmospheric samples; would make all-important organics identification Chemistry and Mineralogy: another interior instrument. Analyses powdered samples to quantify minerals present in rocks and soils Mars Hand Lens Imager: mounted on arm toolkit; will take extreme close-ups of rocks, soil and any ice; details smaller than hairs width Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer: Canadian arm contribution; will determine relative abundances of different elements in samples Radiation Assessment Detector: will characterize radiation environment at surface; key information for future human exploration Mars Descent Imager: operates during landing sequence; hi-def movie will tell controllers exactly where rover touched down Rover Environmental Monitoring Station: Spanish weather station; measures pressure, temperature, humidity, winds, and UV levels Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons: looks for sub-surface hydrogen; could indicate water buried in form of ice or bound in mineralsThe rover is not a life-detection mission; it does not possess the capability to identify any bugs inthe soil or huddled under rocks (not that anyone really expects to find microbes in the cold, dry,and irradiated conditions that persist at the surface of Mars today).But what Curiosity can do is characterise any organic (carbon-rich) chemistry that may bepresent.All life as we know it on Earth trades off a source of complex carbon molecules, such as aminoacids - just as it needs water and energy.Previous missions, notably the Viking landers in the 1970s, have hinted at the presence oforganics on Mars. But if Curiosity could make the definitive identification of organics in GaleCrater, it would be a eureka moment and go a long way towards demonstrating that the RedPlanet did indeed have habitable environments in its ancient past.Its a big ask, though. Even in Earth rocks where we know sediments have been laid down inproximity to biology, we still frequently find no organic traces. The evidence doesnt preservewell.And, of course, there are plenty of non-biological processes that will produce organics, so itwouldnt be an "A equals B" situation even if Curiosity were to make the identification.Nonetheless, some members of the science team still dream of finding tantalising chemicalmarkers in Gales rocks.
  24. 24. Dawn Sumner, from the University of California at Davis, is one of them."Under very specific circumstances - if life made a lot of organic molecules and they arepreserved and they havent reacted with the rocks in Gale Crater, we may be able to tell that theywere created by life. Its a remote possibility, but its something I at least hope we can find," shesaid."I am confident we will learn amazing new things. Some of them will be answers to questionswe already have, but most of what we learn will be surprises to us."Weve only been on the ground on Mars in six places, and its a huge planet."Gale Crater and Mount Sharp are unlike anything weve been to before. That guarantees we willlearn exciting new things from Curiosity."Horizon: Mission to Mars was broadcast on BBC Two Monday 30 July. Watch online via iPlayer(UK only) or browse more Horizon clips at the above link.
  25. 25. Your comments (238) Article written by Jonathan Amos Jonathan Amos Science correspondent More from Jonathan Follow Jonathan on Twitter@BBCAmos via TwitterA Mars enginee3 August 2012 Last updated at 07:39 GMTShare this page
  26. 26. Email Print1.6K Share Facebook TwitterNasas Curiosity rover on course for Marslanding By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News, Pasadena Adam Steltzner expects the new landing systemto perform as designedContinue reading the main storyRelated Stories Mars success depends on crazy landing Mars rover narrows landing zone
  27. 27. Mars has lifes building blocksNasa says the big robot rover it is sending to Mars looks in excellent shape for its Monday(GMT) landing.The vehicle, known as Curiosity, was launched from Earth in November last year and is nownearing the end of a 570-million-km journey across space.To reach its intended touch-down zone in a deep equatorial crater, the machine must enter theatmosphere at a very precise point on the sky.Engineers told reporters on Thursday that they were close to a bulls-eye.A slight course correction - the fourth since launch - was instigated last Saturday, and the latestanalysis indicates Curiosity will be no more than a kilometre from going straight down itsplanned "keyhole".The teams confidence is such that it may pass up the opportunity to make a further correction onFriday."We are about to land a small compact car on the surface with a trunk-load of instruments. Thisis a pretty amazing feat getting ready to happen. Its exciting, its daring - but its fantastic," saidDoug McCuistion, the head of Nasas Mars programme.Curiosity - also known as the Mars Science laboratory (MSL) - is the biggest, most sophisticatedMars rover yet.It will study the rocks inside Gale Crater, one of the deepest holes on Mars, for signs that theplanet may once have supported microbial life.The $2.5bn mission is due to touch down at 05:31 GMT (06:31 BST) Monday 6 August; 22:31PDT, Sunday 5 August.It will be a totally automated landing.Continue reading the main storyCuriosity - Mars Science Laboratory
  28. 28. Mission goal is to determine whether Mars has ever had the conditions to support life Project costed at $2.5bn; will see initial surface operations lasting two Earth years Onboard plutonium generators will deliver heat and electricity for at least 14 years 75kg science payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier US Mars rovers Equipped with tools to brush and drill into rocks, to scoop up, sort and sieve samples Variety of analytical techniques to discern chemistry in rocks, soil and atmosphere Will try to make first definitive identification of organic (carbon-rich) compounds Even carries a laser to zap rocks; beam will identify atomic elements in rocks MSL-Curiosity: Biggest Mars mission yet Discover more about the planetsEngineers here at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, can only watchand wait.The vast distance between Mars and Earth means there is a 13-minute lag in communications,making real-time intervention impossible.Nasa has had to abandon the bouncing airbag approach to making soft landings.This technique was used to great effect on the three previous rovers - Sojourner, Spirit andOpportunity.But at nearly a tonne, Curiosity is simply too heavy to be supported by inflated cushions.Instead, the mission team has devised a rocket-powered, hovering crane to lower the rover to thesurface in the final moments of its descent.Adam Steltzner has led this work for Nasa. He said: "It looks a little bit crazy. I promise you it isthe least crazy of the methods you could use to land a rover the size of Curiosity on Mars, andweve become quite fond of it - and were fairly confident that Sunday night will be a good nightfor us."
  29. 29. The team is also keeping a sharp eye on the Martian weather and any atmospheric conditions thatmight interfere with the descent manoeuvres.It is the equivalent of August also on Mars right now, meaning Gale Crater at its position justinside the southern hemisphere is coming out of winter and moving towards spring.It is the time of year when winds can kick up huge clouds of dust, and a big storm was spottedthis week about 1,000km from the landing site. But Nasa expects this storm to dissipate longbefore landing day.Science editor David Shukman takes a look at a full-scale replica of CuriosityThe first black-and-white images of the surface taken by Curiosity should be returned to Earth inthe first hours after touch down, but the mission team do not intend to rush into exploration.For one thing, the rover has a plutonium battery that should give it far greater longevity than thesolar-panelled power systems on previous vehicles."This is a very complicated beast," said Pete Theisinger, Curiositys project manager."The speech I made to the team is to recognize that on Sunday night at [22:32 PDT], we willhave a priceless asset that we have placed on the surface of another planet that could last a longtime if we operate it correctly, and so we will be as cautious as hell about what we do with it."Step by step: How the Curiosity rover will land on MarsContinue reading the main story
  30. 30. As the rover, tuckedinside its protective capsule, heads to Mars, it dumps the disc-shaped cruise stage that hasshepherded it from Earth.Continue reading the main story1/8Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on TwitterMore on This StoryRelated Stories Mars success depends on crazy landing 29 JULY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars rover narrows landing zone 12 JUNE 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars has lifes building blocks 25 MAY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Giant Nasa rover launches to Mars 26 NOVEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT MSL-Curiosity: Biggest Mars mission yet 24 NOVEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT
  31. 31. Mars rover aims for deep crater 22 JULY 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENTRelated Internet links Curiosity - Mars Science LaboratoryThe BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sitesShare this page1.6K Share Facebook Twitter Email PrintMore Science & Environment storiesRSS Shrimp shells aid uranium harvest Researchers outline state-of-the-art proposals to extract uranium - the raw fuel of nuclear power - from seawater, including ideas using shrimp and crabs. Mars rovers wind sensor damaged Bugs sunbathe to stay healthyrs three favourite words: "Tango Delta Nominal" http://t.co/ycouEBg6August 2012 Last updated at 13:50 GMTShare this page
  32. 32. Email Print Share Facebook TwitterMars data to be analysed by LeicesterscientistProject architect Adam Steltzner explains how the Mars Curiosity rover is expected to land onMars (animation is courtesy of Nasa)Continue reading the main storyRelated Stories Mars success depends on crazy landing Nasa may not hear rover s landing Mars has lifes building blocksA University of Leicester scientist says it is going to be "very exciting" to analyse some of thefirst data from Nasas latest Mars mission.The $2.5bn missions Mars Curiosity rover is expected to land on Monday.Dr John Bridges said he would be leading a team from Leicester, the Open University and theFrench National Centre for Scientific Research.
  33. 33. He said: "Never before has such a powerful set of instruments and such a capable rover beensent."Geological historyHe added: "The overall aim of the mission is to determine if Mars has ever been habitable formicrobial life. Its incredibly exciting."For the first time we can look at a large amount of material which was deposited from water."Were there large lakes which lasted for millions of years or just small amounts of water whichlasted a short period of time? These are just some of the fundamental things we can learn aboutMars."The mobile Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) is expected to revolutionise our understandingof the geological history of the planet."The rover was launched in November and is scheduled to land on Monday morning beside amountain within Gale Crater called Mt Sharp.Nasa described Curiosity rover as "car-sized" and weighing one ton (900kg).It is fitted with a robotic arm, high-resolution cameras and a laser, and is designed to be awalking laboratory.Martian meteoritesDr Bridges said he would be at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California to witness the landingand to start work on the research.The University of Leicester said Dr Bridges was one of two UK scientists who would conductand analyse experiments during the two-year mission.Dr Bridges said: "For a number of years now Ive studied Mars using orbiting spacecraft data,also from looking at Martian meteorites in detail. This is the next logical step."Its the most powerful rover ever sent to Mars - with more instruments... It can go even furtherand perhaps even last longer."More on This StoryRelated Stories Mars success depends on crazy landing
  34. 34. 29 JULY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Nasa may not hear rover s landing 16 JULY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars has lifes building blocks 25 MAY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Landing Batman would be Splatman 10 JULY 2012, LEICESTER University to get supercomputer 07 JUNE 2012, LEICESTERRelated Internet links Nasa University of Leicester John Bridges: Mars blogThe BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sitesShare this page Share Facebook Twitter Email PrintBBC Leicester Fungus-hit ash trees destroyed Almost 500 ash trees recently planted in Leicestershire are being destroyed after becoming infected with a fungus disease.
  35. 35. Raining tiny yellow plastic balls London tops heart survival tableTravel News Latest road incidents, public transport information and live traffic jam cameras near youWeatherLeicestershireWednesday day weather Sunny Intervals Max: 20°C Min: 13°CThings To Do RUN BY THE BBC AND PARTNERS THU 23 AUG MCC Spirit of Cricket Girls… Leicestershire and Rutland… THU 23 AUG Medieval Kings, Queens… The Guildhall
  36. 36. See Leicester Activities > Tow n, city,Find activities near you BBC Radio Leicester Live BBC Leicester SportTop Stories Greece needs more time for cuts Chemical weapons excuse for US New Four Paralympic flames kindled Dozens killed in Kenyan clashes Life term for Terreblanche murderFeatures & Analysis Grannys sandwiches Why Italians are returning to traditional food Small world How long before you can be the ancestor of everyone? Fear of turmoil What the death of Meles Zenawi means for Africa
  37. 37. Exit strategy Why Chinese millionaires are buying foreign residencyMost PopularShared 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Life lessons from the mosh pit 3. 3: Tracing the worlds common ancestor 4. 4: Teen invents cancer test using web 5. 5: Beach rubbish reaches 23 tonnesRead 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Chemical weapons excuse for US 3. 3: Sitting straight bad for backs 4. 4: Woods death certificate changed 5. 5: Greece needs more time for cuts 6. 6: Nikons Android-powered camera 7. 7: Tracing the worlds common ancestor 8. 8: Dozens killed in Kenyan clashes 9. 9: Italians feast on traditional granny food 10. 10: EU hails Russias entry into WTOVideo/Audio 1. 1: Athens battles for tourists Watch 2. 2: Teen invents cancer test using web Watch 3. 3: Chinas rich seek overseas residency Watch 4. 4: Meles Zenawis body returns to Ethiopia Watch 5. 5: Nyad: Jellyfish sting like fire Watch 6. 6: One-minute World News Watch 7. 7: Prince Harry an easy target for press Watch 8. 8: Gates of Paradise restored in Florence Watch 9. 9: Meles Zenawi archive interview Watch 10. 10: Missouri residents on Akins row Watch
  38. 38. Elsewhere on BBC News Pensioner pain Greeces elderly come under pressure from the countrys cutsProgrammes Fast Track Watch Annoyed at Greece’s overseas reputation - how young Greeks are attempting to repair the damageAds by Google What Happens When You Die New theory says death isnt the end RobertLanzaBiocentrism.com Markley Cove Resort Visit our new website to reserve vacation rental for Summer 2011 www.markleycoveresort.com
  39. 39. Driver Guided Wales Tours Flexible Tailored Tours of Wales Small Personalised Tours of Wales www.pendragontours.co.uk16 July 2012 Last updated at 19:35 GMTShare this page Email Print Share Facebook TwitterNasa may miss Curiosity Mars roverslanding signal By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC NewsMars programme director Doug McCuistion: "Is it crazy? Well, not so much" (Courtesy of Nasa)Continue reading the main storyRelated Stories Mars rover narrows landing zone Mars has lifes building blocks
  40. 40. Europe still keen on Mars missionsNasa might not be able to follow the progress of its big Mars rover all the way to the surfacewhen it attempts to land on the planet on 6 August (GMT).The Curiosity vehicle is aiming for a deep depression known as Gale Crater.The US space agency will be tracking the descent with satellites, but its prime craft for the taskmay not now be in the correct place in the sky.Engineers have been tackling a fault on the Odyssey satellite and it is no longer in the bestobservational orbit.Unless it can be moved back in the next three weeks, Nasa will lose signal to the rover just as itis about to touch down.This will not affect the outcome of the landing because Curiositys descent manoeuvres are allperformed autonomously, but it will give rise to some high anxiety as everyone awaitsconfirmation that the $2.5bn mission is safely on the surface."Odyssey right now looks like it may not be in the same spot that wed expected it to be," saidDoug McCuistion, the director of Nasas Mars exploration programme."There may be some changes in real-time communication. Well let you know as this develops;we still have more work to do. But keep in mind, there is no risk to [Curiosity] landing. It doesnot have an effect on that."High riskContinue reading the main storyCuriosity - Mars Science Laboratory Mission goal is to determine whether Mars has ever had the conditions to support life
  41. 41. Project costed at $2.5bn; will see initial surface operations lasting two Earth years Onboard plutonium generators will deliver heat and electricity for at least 14 years 75kg science payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier US Mars rovers Equipped with tools to brush and drill into rocks, to scoop up, sort and sieve samples Variety of analytical techniques to discern chemistry in rocks, soil and atmosphere Will try to make first definitive identification of organic (carbon rich) compounds Even carries a laser to zap rocks; beam will identify atomic elements in rocks MSL - the biggest and best Mars mission yetThe 900kg robots entry, descent and landing (EDL) will be the most dangerous aspect of theentire mission.The rover, in its protective capsule, will hit the top of the Martian atmosphere at 20,000km/h(13,000mph) and attempt to slow to just one metre per second to execute a soft touchdown.This rapid deceleration must be achieved in about seven minutes or Curiosity will smash into theground.Engineers have built a complex EDL system that includes a supersonic parachute and a rocket-powered crane. Everything must work on cue and in sequence.It was expected that the Odyssey orbiter would track the whole descent, relaying UHF signalsfrom the rover right up to the landing and for a few minutes beyond.But the spacecraft recently experienced a reaction wheel failure.This device is used to manage the satellites orientation and momentum in space, and becauseengineers have been investigating the issue they have not as yet moved Odyssey back into thecorrect orbit to see the full landing sequence - and they may not do so.This would leave Nasa blind for the final, nail-biting two minutes of the landing operation.Transmission delayAntennas on Earth will be following the descent but they will lose contact as Curiosity hurtlesinto Gale, one of the deepest holes on Mars. The steep crater walls will block all direct radiotransmission to the home planet not long after the supersonic parachute is opened.The Europeans Mars Express satellite will be watching, but its position in the sky means it willhave a similar problem to Earth antennas.Nasas other satellite - the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) - will see the whole landingsequence but it only has a "store and forward" capability, which puts a significant delay in itsdata return time to Earth.
  42. 42. MROs information will not be available to engineers on Earth for three to four hours after therover has placed itself on the surface.As things stand, Nasa could be waiting on Odyssey to make a late pass of the landing site,perhaps five to 10 minutes after the rovers planned touchdown.This is projected to be 22:31 PDT 5 August; 01:31 EDT, 05:31 GMT, 06:31 BST 6 August.This is "Earth receive" time - the time a signal sent from Mars is received on Earth. The 250million km between Mars and Earth on 5/6 August mean a radio transmission takes just under 14minutes to pass between the two planets."If Odyssey is not able to be moved and it still remains late, that means it will fly over[Curiosity] after the spacecraft has landed, and we presumably will [then] be able to seetransmissions from it. It would be somewhere between 22:35 and 22:40 PDT," explained PeteTheisinger, the rover project manager at Nasas Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,California.Curiosity - also known as the Mars Science laboratory (MSL) - is the most sophisticated spacevehicle ever built to touch the surface of another world.Assuming the robot lands safely, it will spend 98 (Earth) weeks scouring Martian soils and rocksfor any signs that current or past environments on the planet could have supported microbial life.Gale Crater was chosen as the landing site because satellite pictures had spied sediments in thedepression which looked as though they were laid down in the presence of abundant water.MSL-Curiosity is equipped with 10 advanced instruments. It also has a plutonium battery and soshould have ample power to keep rolling for more than a decade.It is likely the mechanisms on the rover will wear out long before its energy supply.
  43. 43. MSL-Curiosity will try to land at the base of Gale Crater and then climb the mountain at its centreJonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on TwitterMore on This StoryRelated Stories Mars rover narrows landing zone 12 JUNE 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars has lifes building blocks 25 MAY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT
  44. 44. Europe still keen on Mars missions 15 MARCH 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT ‘Six minutes of terror’ 06 MARCH 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars mission lines up on target 12 JANUARY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Giant Nasa rover launches to Mars 26 NOVEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT MSL - the biggest and best Mars mission 24 NOVEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENTRelated Internet links Nasas Mars Science Laboratory roverThe BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sitesShare this page Share Facebook Twitter Email PrintMore Science & Environment storiesRSS Shrimp shells aid uranium harvest
  45. 45. Researchers outline state-of-the-art proposals to extract uranium - the raw fuel of nuclear power - from seawater, including ideas using shrimp and crabs. Mars rovers wind sensor damaged Bugs sunbathe to stay healthyTop Stories Greece needs more time for cuts Chemical weapons excuse for US New Four Paralympic flames kindled Dozens killed in Kenyan clashes Life term for Terreblanche murderFeatures & Analysis Grannys sandwiches Why Italians are returning to traditional food Small world How long before you can be the ancestor of everyone? Fear of turmoil What the death of Meles Zenawi means for Africa
  46. 46. Exit strategy Why Chinese millionaires are buying foreign residencyMost PopularShared 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Life lessons from the mosh pit 3. 3: Tracing the worlds common ancestor 4. 4: Teen invents cancer test using web 5. 5: Beach rubbish reaches 23 tonnesRead 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Chemical weapons excuse for US 3. 3: Sitting straight bad for backs 4. 4: Woods death certificate changed 5. 5: Greece needs more time for cuts 6. 6: Nikons Android-powered camera 7. 7: Tracing the worlds common ancestor 8. 8: Dozens killed in Kenyan clashes 9. 9: Italians feast on traditional granny food 10. 10: EU hails Russias entry into WTOVideo/Audio 1. 1: Athens battles for tourists Watch 2. 2: Teen invents cancer test using web Watch 3. 3: Chinas rich seek overseas residency Watch 4. 4: Meles Zenawis body returns to Ethiopia Watch 5. 5: Nyad: Jellyfish sting like fire Watch 6. 6: One-minute World News Watch 7. 7: Prince Harry an easy target for press Watch 8. 8: Gates of Paradise restored in Florence Watch 9. 9: Meles Zenawi archive interview Watch 10. 10: Missouri residents on Akins row WatchBBC Future
  47. 47. How many alien worlds exist?Play with our interactive graphic to find out... Read more...Programmes Fast Track Watch Annoyed at Greece’s overseas reputation - how young Greeks are attempting to repair the damageAds by Google What Happens When You Die New theory says death isnt the end RobertLanzaBiocentrism.com EMT Surveillance Robots The Most Affordable surveillance & Recon Robots.EOD,Hazmat,Police www.EvolutionModelTechnology.ca Accuprobe
  48. 48. Probe cards and components Ceramic blades & epoxy ring www.accuprobe.comAccessibility links Skip to content Skip to local navigation Accessibility Helpbbc.co.uk navigation News Sport Weather Travel Future TV Radio More…Search term: Science & Environment Home UK Africa Asia Europe Latin America Mid-East US & Canada Business Health Sci/Environment Tech Entertainment
  49. 49. Video3 August 2012 Last updated at 23:41 GMTShare this page Email Print540 Share Facebook Twitter Article written by Jonathan Amos Science correspondent More from Jonathan Follow Jonathan on TwitterGale Crater: Geological sweet shop awaitsMars roverComments (238)
  50. 50. Grotzinger leads a team of several hundred mission scientistsMore from Jonathan Space - the new rock and roll Mars success depends on crazy landing Ahoy! Your ship is being tracked from orbit Satellites have an electric futureJohn Grotzinger is the project scientist on Nasas latest multi-billion-dollar mission to Mars.Hes going to become a familiar face in the coming months as he explains to TV audiences theimportance of the discoveries that are made by the most sophisticated spacecraft ever sent totouch the surface of another world.The Curiosity Rover - also called the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - is set to land on Monday(GMT) for a minimum two-year exploration of a deep hole on Mars equator known as GaleCrater.The depression was punched out by an asteroid or comet billions of years ago.The lure for Grotzinger and his fellow scientists is the huge mound of rock rising 5km from thecrater floor.Mount Sharp, as they refer to it, looks from satellite pictures to be constructed from ancientsediments - some deposited when Mars still had abundant water at its surface. From orbit, Mount Sharp looks like Australia. Gale isnamed after an Australian astronomer.
  51. 51. That makes it an exciting place to consider the possibility that those distant times may also oncehave supported microbial life.And Curiosity, with its suite of 10 instruments, will test this habitability hypothesis.Grotzinger is a geologist affiliated to the California Institute of Technology and he recently tookthe BBC Horizon programme to the mountains of the nearby Mojave Desert to illustrate thework the rover will be doing on Mars.He climbed to a level and then pointed to the rock sediments on the far side of the valley."What you see here is a stack of layers that tell us about the early environmental history of Earth,representing hundreds of millions of years," he told Horizon."They read like a book of Earth history and they tell us about different chapters in the evolutionof early environments, and life."And the cool thing about going to Mount Sharp and Gale Crater is that there well have adifferent book about the early environmental history of Mars."It will tell us something equally interesting, and we just dont know what it is yet," he said.Curiosity dwarfs all previous landing missions undertaken by the Americans.At 900kg, its a behemoth. Its nearly a hundred times more massive than the first robot roverNasa sent to Mars in 1997.Curiosity will trundle around the foothills of Mount Sharp much like a human field geologistmight walk through Mojaves valleys. Except the rover has more than a hammer in its rucksack.It has hi-res cameras to look for features of interest. If a particular boulder catches the eye,Curiosity can zap it with an infrared laser and examine the resulting surface spark to query therocks elemental composition.If that signature intrigues, the rover will use its long arm to swing over a microscope and an X-ray spectrometer to take a closer look.
  52. 52. Still interested? Curiosity can drill into the boulder and deliver a powdered sample to two high-spec analytical boxes inside the rover belly.These will lay bare the rocks precise make-up, and the conditions under which it formed."Were not just scratching and sniffing and taking pictures - were boring into rock, getting thatpowder and analysing it in these laboratories," deputy project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada, toldthe BBC."These are really university laboratories that would normally fill up a room but which have beenshrunk down - miniaturised - and made safe for the space environment, and then flown on thisrover to Mars."The intention on Monday is to put MSL-Curiosity down on the flat plain of the crater bottom.The vehicle will then drive up to the base of Mount Sharp.In front of it, the rover should find clay minerals (phyllosilicates) that will give a fresh insightinto the wet, early era of the Red Planet known as the Noachian. Clays only form when rockspends a lot of time in contact with water.Above the clays, a little further up the mountain, the rover should find sulphate salts, whichrelate to the Hesperian Era - a time when Mars was still wet but beginning to dry out.
  53. 53. "Going to Gale will give us the opportunity to study a key transition in the climate of Mars -from the Noachian to the Hesperian," said Sanjeev Gupta, an Imperial College London scientiston the mission."The rocks we believe preserve that with real fidelity, and the volume of data we get fromCuriosity will be just extraordinary."A roving laboratory for Mars General equipment: MSL equipped with tools to remove dust from rock surfaces, drill into rocks, and to scoop up, sort and sieve samples Mast Camera: will image rovers surroundings in hi-res stereo and colour; wide angle and telephoto; can make hi-def video movies ChemCam: pulses infrared laser at rocks up to 7m away; carries a spectrometer to identify types of atoms excited in laser beam Sample Analysis at Mars: inside body; will analyse rock, soil and atmospheric samples; would make all-important organics identification Chemistry and Mineralogy: another interior instrument. Analyses powdered samples to quantify minerals present in rocks and soils Mars Hand Lens Imager: mounted on arm toolkit; will take extreme close-ups of rocks, soil and any ice; details smaller than hairs width Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer: Canadian arm contribution; will determine relative abundances of different elements in samples Radiation Assessment Detector: will characterize radiation environment at surface; key information for future human exploration Mars Descent Imager: operates during landing sequence; hi-def movie will tell controllers exactly where rover touched down Rover Environmental Monitoring Station: Spanish weather station; measures pressure, temperature, humidity, winds, and UV levels Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons: looks for sub-surface hydrogen; could indicate water buried in form of ice or bound in mineralsThe rover is not a life-detection mission; it does not possess the capability to identify any bugs inthe soil or huddled under rocks (not that anyone really expects to find microbes in the cold, dry,and irradiated conditions that persist at the surface of Mars today).
  54. 54. But what Curiosity can do is characterise any organic (carbon-rich) chemistry that may bepresent.All life as we know it on Earth trades off a source of complex carbon molecules, such as aminoacids - just as it needs water and energy.Previous missions, notably the Viking landers in the 1970s, have hinted at the presence oforganics on Mars. But if Curiosity could make the definitive identification of organics in GaleCrater, it would be a eureka moment and go a long way towards demonstrating that the RedPlanet did indeed have habitable environments in its ancient past.Its a big ask, though. Even in Earth rocks where we know sediments have been laid down inproximity to biology, we still frequently find no organic traces. The evidence doesnt preservewell.And, of course, there are plenty of non-biological processes that will produce organics, so itwouldnt be an "A equals B" situation even if Curiosity were to make the identification.Nonetheless, some members of the science team still dream of finding tantalising chemicalmarkers in Gales rocks.Dawn Sumner, from the University of California at Davis, is one of them."Under very specific circumstances - if life made a lot of organic molecules and they arepreserved and they havent reacted with the rocks in Gale Crater, we may be able to tell that theywere created by life. Its a remote possibility, but its something I at least hope we can find," shesaid."I am confident we will learn amazing new things. Some of them will be answers to questionswe already have, but most of what we learn will be surprises to us."Weve only been on the ground on Mars in six places, and its a huge planet."Gale Crater and Mount Sharp are unlike anything weve been to before. That guarantees we willlearn exciting new things from Curiosity."Horizon: Mission to Mars was broadcast on BBC Two Monday 30 July. Watch online via iPlayer(UK only) or browse more Horizon clips at the above link.
  55. 55. Your comments (238) Article written by Jonathan Amos Jonathan Amos Science correspondent More from Jonathan Follow Jonathan on Twitter@BBCAmos via TwitterA Mars engineers three favourite words: "Tango Delta Nominal" http://t.co/ycouEBg6
  56. 56. More on This StoryMore from Jonathan Space - the new rock and roll Mars success depends on crazy landing Ahoy! Your ship is being tracked from orbit Satellites have an electric future Virgin to launch small satellites Move to open sky for spaceplanes China in space: Running fast to catch up Super-chilled robot ready to slice and diceRelated Stories Rover on course for Mars landing 03 AUGUST 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars success depends on crazy landing 29 JULY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars rover narrows landing zone 12 JUNE 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars has lifes building blocks 25 MAY 2012, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Giant Nasa rover launches to Mars 26 NOVEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT MSL-Curiosity: Biggest Mars mission yet 24 NOVEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Mars rover aims for deep crater 22 JULY 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENTRelated Internet links
  57. 57. Curiosity - Mars Science Laboratory John Grotzinger at Californa Institute of Technology Sanjeev Gupta at Imperial College London Dawn Sumner at University of California DavisThe BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sitesCommentsThis entry is now closed for commentsJump to comments pagination All Comments (238) o Order by: o Latest First o Highest Rated o Lowest Rated 0 Comment number 238. ColadadelCid 5th August 2012 - 23:27 It would have made for an interesting biological experiment if the craft carried along the most resistant life from Earth a cockroach and had it released on the Martian surface. If the thing lived and scampered away unharmed imagine what that would mean. But by the time Earthlings actually set foot on Mars they likely might need to bring along some roach spray and plenty of it. +1
  58. 58. Comment number 237.Cnut the not so Great5th August 2012 - 23:05231. SBTCWhat?John 3:16 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, thatwhoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life".Have you actually read Genesis. Its seven days.+3Comment number 236.disgustedofdymchurch5th August 2012 - 22:52Why are they sending a Rover? Wouldnt a Mercedes be more reliable?+1Comment number 235.Eggleman5th August 2012 - 22:42It is amazing what advances in science have done since we reached the Moon in 1969. Iseriously doubt many people would have predicted this level of technology to reach, letalone see Mars in such detail to come so quickly.
  59. 59. 0 Comment number 234. MickClayton 5th August 2012 - 22:34 http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM5O1TX55H_index_0.htmlComments 5 of 238 Show moreSign in with your BBC iD, or Register to comment and rate commentsAll posts are reactively-moderated and must obey the house rules.Share this page540 Share Facebook Twitter Email PrintTop Stories Greece needs more time for cuts Chemical weapons excuse for US Four Paralympic flames kindled Dozens killed in Kenya clashes
  60. 60. Life term for Terreblanche murderFeatures & Analysis Grannys sandwiches Why Italians are returning to traditional food Small world How long before you can be the ancestor of everyone? Fear of turmoil What the death of Meles Zenawi means for Africa Exit strategy Why Chinese millionaires are buying foreign residencyMost PopularShared 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Life lessons from the mosh pit
  61. 61. 3. 3: Tracing the worlds common ancestor 4. 4: Teen invents cancer test using web 5. 5: Beach rubbish reaches 23 tonnesRead 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Chemical weapons excuse for US 3. 3: Woods death certificate changed 4. 4: Sitting straight bad for backs 5. 5: Ethiopias Meles lies in state 6. 6: Greece needs more time for cuts 7. 7: Italians feast on traditional granny food 8. 8: EU hails Russias entry into WTO 9. 9: Dozens killed in Kenyan clashes 10. 10: Viewpoint: Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawis death could create regional turmoilVideo/Audio 1. 1: Athens battles for tourists Watch 2. 2: Nyad: Jellyfish sting like fire Watch 3. 3: Chinas rich seek overseas residency Watch 4. 4: Teen invents cancer test using web Watch 5. 5: Prince Harry an easy target for press Watch 6. 6: Japanese journalist killed in Syria Watch 7. 7: Meles Zenawis body returns to Ethiopia Watch 8. 8: One-minute World News Watch 9. 9: Why Angelique Kidjo criticised Mugabe Watch 10. 10: Can California afford bullet trains? WatchBBC FutureHow many alien worlds exist?Play with our interactive graphic to find out... Read more...
  62. 62. Programmes Fast Track Watch Annoyed at Greece’s overseas reputation - how young Greeks are attempting to repair the damageAds by Google What Happens When You Die New theory says death isnt the end RobertLanzaBiocentrism.com The Theory of Everything Some physicists think the mind is at the heart of modern physics. NewPhysicsAndTheMind.net Zircon for Opacifiers, Refractories, Flour Indias only Private Manufacturer www.vvmineral.comServices Mobile Connected TV News feeds Alerts E-mail news
  63. 63. About BBC News Editors blog BBC College of Journalism News sources Media ActionBBC links o Mobile site o Terms of Use o About the BBC o Advertise With Us o Privacy o BBC Help o Ad Choices o Cookies o Accessibility Help o Parental Guidance o Contact UsBBC © 2 January 2012 Last updated at 05:15 GMTShare this page Email Print Share Facebook TwitterNasa Mars rover mission lines up on targetBy Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC NewsContinue reading the main storyCuriosity - Mars Science Laboratory
  64. 64. Project costed at $2.5bn; will see initial surface operations lasting two Earth years Onboard plutonium generators will deliver heat and electricity for at least 14 years 75kg science payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier US Mars rovers Equipped with tools to brush and drill into rocks, to scoop up, sort and sieve samples Variety of analytical techniques to discern chemistry in rocks, soil and atmosphere Will try to make first definitive identification of organic (carbon rich) compounds Even carries a laser to zap rocks; beam will identify atomic elements in rocks MSL - the biggest and best Mars mission yetContinue reading the main storyRelated Stories Giant Nasa rover launches to Mars MSL - the biggest and best Mars mission Russia asked to join Mars projectNasas Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), currently en route to the Red Planet, has had its coursecorrected to put it on target for an August landing.The 900kg rover is flying through space at 4.5km/s following its launch on an Atlas rocket fromFlorida in November.Wednesdays manoeuvre ensures MSL is properly lined up on Mars, leaving the Atlas, which isfollowing behind, to miss the planet.The roving lab is aiming to land inside a 150km-wide bowl called Gale Crater.It will use its sophisticated instruments to assess whether the location has ever had the conditionscapable of supporting life.The course correction involved firing the eight thrusters on MSLs cruise stage in a plannedsequence that lasted almost three hours.
  65. 65. The cruise stage is the support vehicle that is carrying the rover to the Red Planet. The laboratoryitself is tucked away inside a protective cone-shaped capsule.All of this equipment will have to be jettisoned for MSL to make its landing, expected to takeplace on the morning of 6 August (GMT).The thruster firings initiated what is expected to be the biggest change in course for the probeduring its nine-month, 570-million-km-long journey to the Red Planet.Further manoeuvres, however, will still be needed to precisely point MSL at its destination, witha last correction being made perhaps just before the missions entry into the Martian atmosphere.Changing course like this mid-way through a cruise is standard practice.Planetary protection protocols drawn up by scientists demand that space missions limit theamount of earthly contamination they take to other worlds, and while MSL was prepared toexacting standards of cleanliness the same could not be said of its Atlas launcher. The rover is tucked inside a protective shell attachedto the cruise stageWednesdays manoeuvre guarantees the upper portion of this vehicle, which has been trailingbehind the rover after giving it a final push, cannot now impact Mars.MSL, also known as Curiosity, is the biggest, most capable spacecraft ever sent to touch thesurface of another planet.Getting down on to planet will not be easy; most efforts have failed. But the Americans have agood recent record and they believe a new rocket-powered descent system will be able to placethe rover in one of the most exciting locations on the planet.Curiosity will investigate a central mountain in Gale Crater that is some 5km high.It will climb the mountain, and, as it does so, study rocks that were laid down billions of yearsago in the presence of water.
  66. 66. Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on TwitterMore on This StoryRelated Stories Giant Nasa rover launches to Mars 26 NOVEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT MSL - the biggest and best Mars mission 24 NOVEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Russia asked to join Mars project 14 OCTOBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENTRelated Internet links Mars Science LaboratoryThe BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites
  67. 67. Share this page Share Facebook Twitter Email PrintMore Science & Environment storiesRSS Shrimp shells aid uranium harvest Researchers outline state-of-the-art proposals to extract uranium - the raw fuel of nuclear power - from seawater, including ideas using shrimp and crabs. Mars rovers wind sensor damaged Bugs sunbathe to stay healthyTop Stories Greece needs more time for cuts Chemical weapons excuse for US Four Paralympic flames kindled Dozens killed in Kenya clashes Life term for Terreblanche murderFeatures & Analysis Grannys sandwiches Why Italians are returning to traditional food
  68. 68. Small world How long before you can be the ancestor of everyone? Fear of turmoil What the death of Meles Zenawi means for Africa Exit strategy Why Chinese millionaires are buying foreign residencyMost PopularShared 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Life lessons from the mosh pit 3. 3: Tracing the worlds common ancestor 4. 4: Teen invents cancer test using web 5. 5: Beach rubbish reaches 23 tonnesRead 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Sitting straight bad for backs 3. 3: Chemical weapons excuse for US 4. 4: Woods death certificate changed 5. 5: Dozens killed in Kenyan clashes
  69. 69. 6. 6: Ethiopias Meles lies in state 7. 7: Greece needs more time for cuts 8. 8: Italians feast on traditional granny food 9. 9: Viewpoint: Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawis death could create regional turmoil 10. 10: Tracing the worlds common ancestorVideo/Audio 1. 1: Athens battles for tourists Watch 2. 2: Teen invents cancer test using web Watch 3. 3: Chinas rich seek overseas residency Watch 4. 4: Meles Zenawis body returns to Ethiopia Watch 5. 5: Japanese journalist killed in Syria Watch 6. 6: Prince Harry an easy target for press Watch 7. 7: Nyad: Jellyfish sting like fire Watch 8. 8: Mikias in Addis Ababa: You see changes Watch 9. 9: Why Angelique Kidjo criticised Mugabe Watch 10. 10: One-minute World News WatchElsewhere on BBC News Pensioner pain Greeces elderly come under pressure from the countrys cutsProgrammes
  70. 70. Fast Track Watch Annoyed at Greece’s overseas reputation - how young Greeks are attempting to repair the damageAds by Google What Happens When You Die New theory says death isnt the end RobertLanzaBiocentrism.com Learn physics fast: Relativity, quantum physics, string theory, quantum gravity, cosmology. NewPhysicsAndTheMind.net Affordable Probe Station DC thru Microwave Probe Measurement Materials and Semiconductor www.jmicrotechnology.com2012 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.Accessibility links
  71. 71. Skip to content Skip to local navigation Accessibility Helpbbc.co.uk navigation News Sport Weather Travel Future TV Radio More…Search term: Science & Environment Home UK Africa Asia Europe Latin America Mid-East US & Canada Business Health Sci/Environment Tech Entertainment Video24 November 2011 Last updated at 17:09 GMTShare this page Email Print207 Share
  72. 72. Facebook Twitter Article written by Jonathan Amos Science correspondent More from Jonathan Follow Jonathan on TwitterMSL-Curiosity: Biggest Mars mission yetComments (101)An elevation model of Gale crater made using data from Europes Mars Express orbiter. MSL lands onthe lower, nearside of the central peak, which rises more than 5km above the crater floorMore from Jonathan Space - the new rock and roll Gale Crater: Geological sweet shop awaits Mars rover Mars success depends on crazy landing Ahoy! Your ship is being tracked from orbit
  73. 73. The delivery of Nasas Mars Science Laboratory rover, known as Curiosity, to the surface of theRed Planet is a mouth-watering prospect.The $2.5bn robot is by far the most capable machine ever built to touch another world. Considerjust the history of wheeled vehicles on Mars.In 1997, the US space agency put the toy-sized Pathfinder-Sojourner rover on the surface. Itweighed just over 10kg.This was followed seven years later by the 170kg, twin rovers Opportunity and Spirit. Theirinstrument complement combined (5kg + 5kg) was equal to the total mass of Sojourner.Now, we await Curiosity - a 900kg behemoth due for launch this Saturday. Its biggest instrumentalone is nearly four times the mass of that teeny robot back in 97."Its the size of a Mini Cooper with the wheelbase of a Humvee," is how project scientist JohnGrotzinger describes the rover.So, were expecting great things from Curiosity. A big machine to address some big questions.A roving laboratory for Mars General equipment: MSL equipped with tools to remove dust from rock surfaces, drill into rocks, and to scoop up, sort and sieve samples Mast Camera: will image rovers surroundings in high-res stereo and colour; wide angle and telephoto; can make high-def video movies ChemCam: pulses infrared laser at rocks up to 7m away; carries a spectrometer to identify types of atoms excited in laser beam Sample Analysis at Mars: inside body; will analyse rock, soil and atmospheric samples; would make all-important organics identification Chemistry and Mineralogy: another interior instrument. Analyses powdered samples to quantify minerals present in rocks and soils Mars Hand Lens Imager: mounted on arm toolkit; will take extreme close-ups of rocks, soil and any ice; details smaller than hairs width
  74. 74. Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer: Canadian arm contribution; will determine the relative abundances of different elements in samples Radiation Assessment Detector: will characterize radiation environment at surface; key information for future human exploration Mars Descent Imager: operates during landing sequence; high-def movie will tell controllers exactly where rover touched down Rover Environmental Monitoring Station: Spanish weather station; measures pressure, temperature, humidity, winds, and UV levels Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons: looks for sub-surface hydrogen; could indicate water buried in form of ice or bound in mineralsMike Meyer is the lead scientist on Nasas Mars exploration effort: "MSL plays a central role in aseries of missions of looking at Mars and determining whether or not it has the potential for life.It is capable of going to a region and exploring that region, and telling us whether or not it hasbeen, or may even still be today, a habitable place - something that could support microbial life."Engineers have designed a new entry, descent and landing system they say can put the rovinglaboratory down on a button.OK, so this button is 20km wide but the accuracy being promised is an order or magnitude betterthan previous technology, and it has allowed researchers essentially to go where their heartdesired.Theyve chosen a near-equatorial depression called Gale Crater. Its one of the deepest holes onMars - deeper even than Valles Marineris, that great scar that tears across one quarter of theplanet.Scientists believe Gale will be the geological equivalent of a sweet shop - so enticing and variedare the delights it appears to offer."This crater is about 100 miles across and it has a central mound thats about three miles high,"explains Grotzinger."The important thing is that the central mound is a series of layers that cut across the history ofMars covering over a billion years. So, not only do we have high-resolution images showing wehave layers in this mound, but also because of the spectrometers we have in orbit flying aroundMars, we can see minerals that have obviously interacted with water."The intention is to put MSL-Curiosity down on the flat plain of the crater bottom. The vehiclewill then drive up to the base of the peak.In front of it, the rover should find abundant quantities of clay minerals (phyllosilicates) that willgive a fresh insight into the very wet, early epoch of the Red Planet. Clays only form when rockspends a lot of time in contact with water.
  75. 75. Above the clays, a little further up the mountain, the rover should find sulphate salts, whichrelate to a time when Mars was still wet but beginning to dry out. Go higher still, and MSL willfind mostly the "duststones" from the cold, desiccated world that Mars has now become.But even before all this, MSL will land on what looks from orbit to be alluvial fan - a spread ofsediment dumped by a stream of water flowing down the crater wall.If the science on this fan proves productive, it could be many months before MSL gets to thebase of the mountain.The rover has time, though. Equipped with a plutonium battery, it has the power to keep rollingfor more than 10 years - time enough to scout the crater floor and climb to the summit of themountain."We are not a life detection mission," stresses Grotzinger.
  76. 76. "I know that many of you would like to know when were going to get on with doing that. Butthe first and important step towards that is to try to understand where the good stuff may be. Andin this case a habitable environment needs to be described."This is an environment that contains a source of water, which is essential for all life as weunderstand it on Earth; we need a source of energy, which is important for organisms to dometabolism; and we also need a source of carbon, which is essential to build the molecularstructures that an organism is composed of."You may be wondering why these sorts of missions dont look directly for life, and the reason ispretty straightforward. Those types of observations are actually quite difficult to make, and thetruth is we dont really expect to find microbial communities thriving at the surface of present-day Mars. The conditions are simply too harsh. Little one: the Sojourner rover now looks like a toycompared to MSLBut go back further in time, and the situation may have been very different. It seems pretty clearnow that when life was getting going on Earth more than three billion years ago, conditions onMars were also warm and wet.But the traces of those ancient lifeforms on our own planet are now very hard to read, and oftenrequire instruments that would fill a room. Not even a machine the scale of Curiosity could carrythem.So, MSL will restrict itself to the habitability question, and it will do this using a combination of10 instruments.The rover has instruments on a mast that can survey the surroundings and assess potentialsampling targets from a distance. These include cameras and an infrared laser system that canexcite the surface of a rock to betray some of its chemistry.Its also got instruments on the end of a 2.1m-long arm for close-up inspections. These include adrill that can pull samples from up to 5cm inside a rock.And MSL has two big lab kits inside its body to do detailed analysis of all the samples it takesfrom rocks, soils and even the atmosphere.
  77. 77. One eureka moment for this mission would be if it could definitively identify a range of complexorganic (carbon-rich) molecules, such as amino acids.Previous missions, notably the Viking landers in the 1970s, have hinted at the presence oforganics. It would be good if Curiosity could bury all doubts. But it will be tough.Even in Earth rocks where we know sediments have been laid down in proximity to biology, westill frequently find no organic traces. The evidence doesnt preserve well.So, getting a positive result on Mars would be a triumph for the MSL team. Although, I guessone should make it clear - just finding complex organics does not indicate the presence of lifebecause we know these carbon molecules can have non-biological origins, in meteorites, forexample.Nonetheless, it would help to build a case that at least the necessary preconditions have existedfor life on the Red Planet at some point.We can then think about how we might go about testing for life itself, although I think the onlyreal solution will be to return rocks for analysis in those room-sized instruments here on Earth.Your comments (101) Article written by Jonathan Amos Jonathan Amos Science correspondent More from Jonathan Follow Jonathan on Twitter@BBCAmos via TwitterA Mars engineers three favourite words: "Tango Delta Nominal" http://t.co/ycouEBg6More on This StoryMore from Jonathan Space - the new rock and roll Gale Crater: Geological sweet shop awaits Mars rover Mars success depends on crazy landing Ahoy! Your ship is being tracked from orbit Satellites have an electric future Virgin to launch small satellites
  78. 78. Move to open sky for spaceplanes China in space: Running fast to catch up Super-chilled robot ready to slice and diceCommentsThis entry is now closed for commentsJump to comments pagination All Comments (101) o Order by: o Latest First o Highest Rated o Lowest Rated 0 Comment number 101. Shift That Paradigm 26th November 2011 - 20:16 Im very relieved that the launch went well. Between now and next August when Curiosity lands its probably a good idea to fix our money system otherwise a gaping black hole awaits us and all our endeavours might all be for nothing. Usury/interest must go and we need a resource-based economy and not a money-based one. We really do need a paradigm shift and soon. We can do it. 0
  79. 79. Comment number 100.Jones_the_Steve26th November 2011 - 18:34Robert Lucien and Powermeerkat,I wasnt belittling the Russians. My point was that many people complain about the costof space science but dont realise the benefits that having a huge scientific and industrialbase working on extremely difficult tasks brings. It isnt just Teflon and velcro. Glad thelaunch went well.+1Comment number 99.Robert Lucien26th November 2011 - 17:51#94 powermeerkat, 56.Jones_the_Steve, Shift That Paradigm.Curiosity just lifted off on an Atlas 5 and the Atlas 5 is powered by Russian technology,specifically Buran technology, specifically the RD-180 rocket. A good thing since itsabout the most powerful and reliable rocket in current use (both Atlas and the RD-180). -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RD-180-3Comment number 98.BobBall26th November 2011 - 13:12
  80. 80. 21. Tom Ray 24TH NOVEMBER 2011 - 19:44 Where can I get one of the batteries that will drive the Curiosity lander artound for 10 years? Personally, it will be fingers crossed that the rocket launch goes well. Otherwise the USA may suffer serious radiation contamination from the plutonium batteries on Curiosity. 0 Comment number 97. Whizz1967 26th November 2011 - 10:58 Knights of Cydonia,now that is artComments 5 of 101 Show moreSign in with your BBC iD, or Register to comment and rate commentsAll posts are reactively-moderated and must obey the house rules.Share this page207 Share Facebook Twitter Email PrintTop Stories
  81. 81. Greece needs more time for cuts Chemical weapons excuse for US Four Paralympic flames kindled Dozens killed in Kenya clashes Life term for Terreblanche murderFeatures & Analysis Grannys sandwiches Why Italians are returning to traditional food Small world How long before you can be the ancestor of everyone? Fear of turmoil What the death of Meles Zenawi means for Africa Exit strategy Why Chinese millionaires are buying foreign residency
  82. 82. Most PopularShared 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Life lessons from the mosh pit 3. 3: Tracing the worlds common ancestor 4. 4: Teen invents cancer test using web 5. 5: Beach rubbish reaches 23 tonnesRead 1. 1: Right-to-die man Nicklinson dead 2. 2: Sitting straight bad for backs 3. 3: Chemical weapons excuse for US 4. 4: Woods death certificate changed 5. 5: Dozens killed in Kenyan clashes 6. 6: Ethiopias Meles lies in state 7. 7: Greece needs more time for cuts 8. 8: Italians feast on traditional granny food 9. 9: Viewpoint: Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawis death could create regional turmoil 10. 10: Tracing the worlds common ancestorVideo/Audio 1. 1: Athens battles for tourists Watch 2. 2: Teen invents cancer test using web Watch 3. 3: Chinas rich seek overseas residency Watch 4. 4: Meles Zenawis body returns to Ethiopia Watch 5. 5: Japanese journalist killed in Syria Watch 6. 6: Prince Harry an easy target for press Watch 7. 7: Nyad: Jellyfish sting like fire Watch 8. 8: Mikias in Addis Ababa: You see changes Watch 9. 9: Why Angelique Kidjo criticised Mugabe Watch 10. 10: One-minute World News WatchBBC Future
  83. 83. How many alien worlds exist?Play with our interactive graphic to find out... Read more...Programmes Fast Track Watch Annoyed at Greece’s overseas reputation - how young Greeks are attempting to repair the damageAds by Google What Happens When You Die New theory says death isnt the end RobertLanzaBiocentrism.com Rokit - Water Rocket The World famous pop-bottle rocket for education and great fun.Buy now www.rokit.com Zircon
  84. 84. for Opacifiers, Refractories, Flour Indias only Private Manufacturer www.vvmineral.comServices Mobile Connected TV News feeds Alerts E-mail newsAbout BBC News Editors blog BBC College of Journalism News sources Media ActionBBC links o Mobile site o Terms of Use o About the BBC o Advertise With Us o Privacy o BBC Help o Ad Choices o Cookies o Accessibility Help o Parental Guidance o Contact UsBBC © 2012 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.
  85. 85. Accessibility links Skip to content Skip to local navigation Accessibility Helpbbc.co.uk navigation News Sport Weather Travel Future TV Radio More…Search term: Science & Environment Home UK Africa Asia Europe Latin America Mid-East US & Canada Business Health Sci/Environment Tech Entertainment Video9 August 2012 Last updated at 14:40 GMTShare this page Email Print321
  86. 86. Share Facebook Twitter Article written by Jonathan Amos Science correspondent More from Jonathan Follow Jonathan on TwitterSpace - the new rock and rollComments (67)The reaction from the Nasa control room as the robot landedMore from Jonathan Gale Crater: Geological sweet shop awaits Mars rover Mars success depends on crazy landing Ahoy! Your ship is being tracked from orbit Satellites have an electric future"I hope to do something as great in my life in the future, but if I dont - this will have beenenough."
  87. 87. Adam Steltzner has had a little time to reflect on the historic touchdown of the Curiosity rover onMars, although he confesses the adrenaline of the past few days means he hasnt himself yetlanded back on Earth.The man who led the Nasa team that devised the "crazy" system to get Curiosity on the ground isstill buzzing."It is a triumph. It is a triumph of ingenuity and engineering, and its something the team shouldbe very, very proud of," he says.For a few days, Stelzner became the face of this mission.His engaging personality and presentation, allied to his rock and roll looks, meant he was anatural magnet to the news cameras.In those remarkable pictures from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory control room, he was the onepacing around and pointing. Steltzner and the Curiosity landing system now gotheir separate waysAnd all eyes were on him - the master of ceremonies.The worst part, he says, was waiting for the rover in its descent capsule to touch the top of theatmosphere.

×