Friday, August 10, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #68 - Part 5

And Another Thing: Curiosity lands on Mars

Curiosity, the largest and most advanced spacecraft ever sent to another planet, made its extraordinary, multi-step, landing on Mars Sunday night (or Monday morning, if you prefer). Everything worked just as intended.

Curiosity now begins its two year mission focused on the question of if there ever was - or, quite improbable as it may be, is - life on Mars.

It joins a colleague on a distant part of the Martian surface, the rover Opportunity - which is now in the eighth year what was originally scheduled as a 90-day mission. If we have the same kind of luck with Curiosity as we've had with Opportunity, by the time of a hoped-for human landing on Mars in the 2030s, Curiosity may still be running.

Just two quick things I want to mention: One is that when you see the video, as I'm sure you have, of the excitement in the control room when touchdown was confirmed, you should remember that a lot of those people worked for literally 10 years for that moment.

And two, I have to show you this. I think it's one of the most extraordinary space photos ever. It was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. We have two satellites orbiting Mars. One of them was used to relay signals from Curiosity back to Earth so we knew what was going on. The other, the Reconnaissance Orbiter, took this shot. Note the white box toward the left end of the picture. In that box you can see Curiosity descending on its parachute, part of the process of its landing.

Seriously, majorly, cool.


No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');