This week we mark the first anniversary of the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity, in the Gale Crater on Mars.
Self-portrait – Curiosity on Mars
TV and video coverage of this landing had a huge international audience on the night. It was certainly one of the top scientific events of the year.
The video below gives a short review of Curiosity and its landing.
Curiosity Rover: One Year on Mars
Curiosity team members at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., will share remembrances about the dramatic landing night and the mission overall in an event that will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website from 10:45 a.m. to noon EDT on Tuesday, Aug. 6 (2:45 to 4 a.m. Wednesday Aug. 7 NZST).
Immediately following that program NASA TV will carry a live public event from NASA Headquarters in Washington. That event will feature NASA officials and crew members aboard the International Space Station as they observe the rover anniversary and discuss how its activities and other robotic projects are helping prepare for a human mission to Mars and an asteroid. Social media followers may submit questions on Twitter and Google+ in advance and during the event using the hashtag #askNASA.
For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
The events will also be carried on Ustream at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl
And here’s a few links with further information on Curiosity, its discoveries and celebration of the anniversary back here on earth.
Mars Science Laboratory: Celebrate Your Curiosity: Anniversary Week Activities
Mars science laboratory
Curiosity’s Views of Gale Crater
The Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity, lands today – hopefully (5:31 pm NZ time). But when will we know if the landing has been successful?
Communication between Mars and Earth is hardly simple. It’s not just the time delays involved (currently about 15 min). There’s also rotation of both planets. So communication with Curiosity (if it lands successfully) will involve three satellites in orbit around Mars – the Odyssey Orbiter, the Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA’s Mars Express. (Watch this video to see the alignment of Curiosity, Odyssey and Reconnaiscance during landing). Messages, and particularly data, may need to be stored on board Curiosity or the satellites before transmission to earth.
So we may not even have confirmation of Curiosity’s safe landing for several hours – maybe even several days. This video describes the problems and how they are overcome.
Thanks to Universe Today: When Will We Hear From Curiosity?
Curiosity’s landing site
Here’s a computer-generated view of Mars’ Gale crater as if seen from an aircraft north of the crater. Because of its history, 96-mile wide Gale Crater crater landing site is an ideal region for exploration of the planets history.
It has thick exposed sections of layered sedimentary rocks with a wet history. Joy Crisp, Mars Science Laboratory Deputy Project Scientist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said:
“The rock record preserved in those layers holds stories that are billions of years old — stories about whether, when, and for how long Mars might have been habitable.”
For further information go to Image of the Day –NASA’s Gale Crater Mars Landing Site for Tomorrow’s ‘Search-for-Life’ Mission.
Posted in SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged astronomy, European Space Agency, Gale, Gale (crater), Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mars, Mars Science Laboratory, NASA, SciBlogs