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Author Topic: Curiosity's Landing on Mars  (Read 15534 times)

Offline zorgon

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Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« on: August 03, 2012, 01:18:15 PM »
William Shatner Hosts "Grand Entrance"
Curiosity's Landing on Mars | NASA MSL Rover Video


[youtube]UVg_R2VquDU[/youtube]

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2012, 01:30:09 AM »
Mars Science Laboratory



This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life. Curiosity is being tested in preparation for launch in the fall of 2011. In this picture, the rover examines a rock on Mars with a set of tools at the end of the rover’s arm, which extends about 2 meters (7 feet). Two instruments on the arm can study rocks up close. Also, a drill can collect sample material from inside of rocks and a scoop can pick up samples of soil. The arm can sieve the samples and deliver fine powder to instruments inside the rover for thorough analysis. The mast, or rover’s “head,” rises to about 2.1 meters (6.9 feet) above ground level, about as tall as a basketball player. This mast supports two remote-sensing instruments: the Mast Camera, or “eyes,” for stereo color viewing of surrounding terrain and material collected by the arm; and, the ChemCam instrument, which is a laser that vaporizes material from rocks up to about 9 meters (30 feet) away and determines what elements the rocks are made of.
Date    26 May 2011


Quote
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a robotic mission to Mars launched by NASA on November 26, 2011, that will attempt to land a Mars rover called Curiosity on the surface of Mars. Currently en route to the planet, it is scheduled to land in Gale Crater at about 05:31 UTC on August 6, 2012. Curiosity rover's objectives include determining Mars' habitability, studying its climate and geology, and collecting data for human missions.

Curiosity is about twice as long and five times as heavy as the Spirit and Opportunity Mars exploration rovers, and carries over ten times the mass of scientific instruments. It will attempt a more accurate landing than previous rovers, within a landing ellipse of 7 by 20 km (4.3 by 12 mi), in the Aeolis Palus region of Gale Crater. This location is near the mountain Aeolis Mons (known by NASA as "Mount Sharp"). It is designed to explore for at least 687 Earth days (1 Martian year) over a range of 5 by 20 km (3.1 by 12 mi).

The Mars Science Laboratory mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort for the robotic exploration of Mars, and the project is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of California Institute of Technology. When MSL launched, the program's director was Doug McCuistion of NASA's Planetary Science Division. The total cost of the MSL project is about US$2.5 billion.


Color-coded rover diagram


Mars rover Curiosity, the centerpiece of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, is coming together for extensive testing prior to its late 2011 launch. This image taken June 29, 2010, shows the rover with the mobility system -- wheels and suspension -- in place after installation on June 28 and 29.

Spacecraft engineers and technicians are assembling and testing the rover in a large clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Curiosity's six-wheel mobility system, with a rocker-bogie suspension system, resembles the systems on earlier, smaller Mars rovers, but for Curiosity, the wheels will also serve as landing gear. Each wheel is half a meter (20 inches) in diameter.




Two spacecraft engineers stand with a group of vehicles providing a comparison of three generations of Mars rovers developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The setting is JPL's Mars Yard testing area.

Front and center is the flight spare for the first Mars rover, Sojourner, which landed on Mars in 1997 as part of the Mars Pathfinder Project. On the left is a Mars Exploration Rover Project test rover that is a working sibling to Spirit and Opportunity, which landed on Mars in 2004. On the right is a Mars Science Laboratory test rover the size of that project's Mars rover, Curiosity, which is on course for landing on Mars in August 2012.

Sojourner and its flight spare, named Marie Curie, are 2 feet (65 centimeters) long. The Mars Exploration Rover Project's rover, including the "Surface System Test Bed" rover in this photo, are 5.2 feet (1.6 meters) long. The Mars Science Laboratory Project's Curiosity rover and "Vehicle System Test Bed" rover, on the right, are 10 feet (3 meters) long.
The engineers are JPL's Matt Robinson, left, and Wesley Kuykendall. The California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, operates JPL for NASA.
Date    15 December 2011




This photograph of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, was taken during mobility testing on June 3, 2011. The location is inside the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Preparations are on track for shipping the rover to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in June and for launch during the period Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, 2011.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. This mission will land Curiosity on Mars in August 2012. Researchers will use the tools on the rover to study whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.
Hrvatski: NASA-in rover Curiosity tijekom testiranja mobilnosti.
Date    June 3, 2011.




Detail of Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover with tread pattern which will leave an impression on the Martian surface spelling "JPL" in morse code
Source NASA/JPL Date 25 November 2011 (UTC)


Mars Science Laboratory - Wikipedia

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2012, 01:39:56 AM »

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATAION, Fla. -- An Atlas V evolved expendable launch vehicle carries NASA's Mars Science Laboratory from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Nov. 26. The lab's Rover Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars in August 2012.
Date    28 January 2012



Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) landing diagram for outside the Martian atmosphere and for entry.


Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) landing diagram for parachute descent, powered descent, and sky crane.


Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) test parachute at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California which has the world's largest wind tunnel. The MSL parachute is the largest parachute ever made for an extraterrestrial mission with a diameter of nearly 16 meters (51 feet). The parachute uses 80 suspension lines and is made mostly of nylon except for a small disk of polyester. Both the MSL parachute and the MSL test parachute were made by Pioneer Aerospace.



Curiosity's Sky Crane Maneuver, Artist's Concept

This artist's concept shows the sky crane maneuver during the descent of NASA's Curiosity rover to the Martian surface.

The entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase of the Mars Science Laboratory mission begins when the spacecraft reaches the Martian atmosphere, about 81 miles (131 kilometers) above the surface of the Gale crater landing area, and ends with the rover Curiosity safe and sound on the surface of Mars.

Entry, descent, and landing for the Mars Science Laboratory mission will include a combination of technologies inherited from past NASA Mars missions, as well as exciting new technologies. Instead of the familiar airbag landing systems of the past Mars missions, Mars Science Laboratory will use a guided entry and a sky crane touchdown system to land the hyper-capable, massive rover.

The sheer size of the Mars Science Laboratory rover (over one ton, or 900 kilograms) would preclude it from taking advantage of an airbag-assisted landing. Instead, the Mars Science Laboratory will use the sky crane touchdown system, which will be capable of delivering a much larger rover onto the surface. It will place the rover on its wheels, ready to begin its mission after thorough post-landing checkouts.

The new entry, descent and landing architecture, with its use of guided entry, will allow for more precision. Where the Mars Exploration Rovers could have landed anywhere within their respective 93-mile by 12-mile (150 by 20 kilometer) landing ellipses, Mars Science Laboratory will land within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) ellipse! This high-precision delivery will open up more areas of Mars for exploration and potentially allow scientists to roam "virtually" where they have not been able to before.
In the depicted scene, the spacecraft's descent stage, while controlling its own rate of descent with four of its eight throttle-controllable rocket engines, has begun lowering Curiosity on a bridle. The rover is connected to the descent stage by three nylon tethers and by an umbilical providing a power and communication connection. The bridle will extend to full length, about 25 feet (7.5 meters), as the descent stage continues descending. Seconds later, when touchdown is detected, the bridle is cut at the rover end, and the descent stage flies off to stay clear of the landing site.
Date    4 November 2011

Offline zorgon

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« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 02:08:57 AM by zorgon »

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 03:05:57 AM »
This Thread will be for updates as the Mission progresses

Discussion thread is here


NASA spacecraft barrells towards Mars

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 02:19:52 PM »
Curiosity Closes in on its New 'Home'
Sat, 04 Aug 2012 04:20:24 PM PDT


With Mars looming ever larger in front of it, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and its Curiosity rover are in the final stages of preparing for entry, descent and landing on the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6). Curiosity remains in good health with all systems operating as expected. Today, the flight team uplinked and confirmed commands to make minor corrections to the spacecraft's navigation reference point parameters. This afternoon, as part of the onboard sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing, catalyst bed heaters are being turned on to prepare the eight Mars Lander Engines that are part of MSL's descent propulsion system. As of 2:25 p.m. PDT (5:25 p.m. EDT), MSL was approximately 261,000 miles (420,039 kilometers) from Mars, closing in at a little more than 8,000 mph (about 3,600 meters per second).

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html

Only 8 hours to go to see if it lands or goes SPLAT :D

 

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2012, 02:26:14 PM »
Watch it LIVE Here

NASA TV Schedule

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/schedule.html

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2012, 02:37:05 PM »
Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Animation

[youtube]P4boyXQuUIw[/youtube]

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2012, 02:39:53 PM »
NASA Lands Car-Size Rover Beside Martian Mountain

[youtube]wnG-rFFpP8A#![/youtube]

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2012, 05:19:26 PM »
His other car is on Mars


NASA's Curiosity rover and its parachute were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as Curiosity descended to the surface on Sunday.


One of the first images taken by NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars early Monday, August 6. The clear dust cover that protected the camera during landing has been sprung open. Part of the spring that released the dust cover can be seen at the bottom right, near the rover's wheel.


Another of the first images beamed back from NASA's Curiosity rover on August 6 is the shadow cast by the rover on the surface of Mars.

His other car is on Mars

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2012, 02:53:52 AM »
Where Will Curiosity Go First?


This image shows destinations scientists want the rover to investigate. First, Curiosity will move toward an area nicknamed Glenelg where three kinds of terrain intersect. The science team thought the name Glenelg was appropriate because, if Curiosity traveled there, it would visit it twice -- both coming and going -- and the word Glenelg is a palindrome. Then, Curiosity will aim for the base of Mt. Sharp where a natural break in the dunes should allow the rover to begin scaling the lower reaches of the mountain.

August 17, 2012:  By now it's old news that NASA's new Mars rover Curiosity is resting safely on the surface of Red Planet after a daredevil landing that had the nation holding its breath. Now, mission scientists are anxious to start moving. With such a sweet set of wheels at their disposal and the "open road" before them, just where will they go first?

"We won't have to travel far for excitement," says project scientist John Grotzinger. "We landed in the best possible place within the landing ellipse -- the bottom of an alluvial fan."


[youtube]OSHDByiYXvg[/youtube]

An alluvial fan is a pattern of sedimentary rocks, dirt, and sand deposited by flowing water – in this case, perhaps an ancient Martian river. Since life as we know it requires liquid water, this is an excellent first place to search for clues of a Mars that was once hospitable to life.

"The alluvial fan indicates that water flowed across the surface, so we'll head downhill to where water might have collected. We'll be looking for minerals like salts that might tell us where water has been. It's kind of like a scavenger hunt with minerals as clues."

 After that, Grotzinger says it's "full-speed ahead" to the base of Mount Sharp, a 5000-meter tall mountain that holds within its ancient layers possible clues to life on the Red Planet.

"We'll have to make a deal with ourselves not to stop too often along the way. Mount Sharp is the reason we chose this landing site, so we need to high-tail it on over there."

Deputy Program Manager Richard Cook describes the temptation to stop along the way: "It'll be like taking a family vacation, but instead of the family you have 400 scientists who want to stop and look at every sight."

Curiosity is bristling with instruments custom-made to look for the chemical building blocks of life.

A laser on Curiosity's mast can take aim at interesting rocks and vaporize small spots on them from up to 7 meters away. The micro-blasts produce plasma clouds, and the scientists can examine the light reflected off these clouds to learn what the rocks are made of. The mast also sports a high-resolution camera called Mastcam, which has already begun observing and photographing the rover's surroundings.

The rover's robotic arm wields its own array of instruments. The Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer will measure the abundance of chemical elements in the dust, soils, rocks, and samples the rover gathers. The Mars Hand Lens Imager acts like a geologist's magnifying lens that can take its own color photos.

Ultimately samples will be delivered to a pair of onboard laboratory instruments. One of them, SAM, short for Sample Analysis at Mars, will explore the Red Planet by 'sniffing' the air, bird-dog style. It has vents that open to the atmosphere to detect gases like methane. SAM can also 'sniff' the gases released by rock or soil samples it heats in its own oven.

Can 400 scientists gripped by the thrill of the greatest 'family vacation' ever really rush to their destination without stopping to savor every sight?

Grotzinger makes just one guarantee: "In the coming months and years, Curiosity will tell us an incredible story."


Author: Dauna D. Coulter| Production editor: Dr. Tony Phillips |
Credit: Science@NASA

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2012, 03:00:51 AM »
Curiosity Zaps First Martian Rock

August 19, 2012:  NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has fired its laser for the first time on Mars. On Aug. 19th the mission's ChemCam instrument hit a fist-sized rock named "Coronation" with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivers more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second.

The energy from the laser creates a puff of ionized, glowing plasma. ChemCam catches the light with a telescope and analyzes it with three spectrometers for information about what elements are in the rock. The spectrometers record 6,144 different wavelengths of ultraviolet, visible and infrared light.

"We got a great spectrum of Coronation -- lots of signal," said ChemCam Principal Investigator Roger Wiens of Los Alamos National Laboratory, N.M. "Our team is both thrilled and working hard, looking at the results. After eight years building the instrument, it's payoff time!"




First Laser-Zapped Rock on Mars

This composite image, with magnified insets, depicts the first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, instrument aboard NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. The composite incorporates a Navigation Camera image taken prior to the test, with insets taken by the camera in ChemCam. The circular insert highlights the rock before the laser test. The square inset is further magnified and processed to show the difference between images taken before and after the laser interrogation of the rock.

The test took place on Aug. 19, 2012.

In the composite, the fist-sized rock, called "Coronation," is highlighted. Coronation is the first rock on any extraterrestrial planet to be investigated with such a laser test.

The widest context view in this composite comes from Curiosity's Navigation Camera. The magnified views in the insets come from ChemCam's camera, the Remote Micro-Imager. The area shown in the circular inset is 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) in diameter. It was taken before the rock was hit with the laser. The area covered in the further-magnified square inset is 8 millimeters (about one-third of an inch) across. It combines information from images taken before and after the test, subtracting the "before" image from the "after" image to make the changes in the rock visible.

Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera instrument (ChemCam) inaugurated use of its laser when it used the beam to investigate Coronation during Curiosity's 13th day after landing.

ChemCam hit Coronation with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivered more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second. The energy from the laser excited atoms in the rock into an ionized, glowing plasma. ChemCam also caught the light from that spark with a telescope and analyzed it with three spectrometers for information about what elements are in the target.

This initial use of the laser on Mars served as target practice for characterizing the instrument but may provide additional value. Researchers will check whether the composition changed as the pulses progressed. If it did change, that could indicate dust or other surface material being penetrated to reveal different composition beneath the surface.

ChemCam was developed, built and tested by the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory in partnership with scientists and engineers funded by France's national space agency, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and research agency, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project, including Curiosity, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the rover.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP


First Laser-Zapped Rock on Mars

ChemCam recorded spectra from each of the 30 pulses. The goal of this initial use of the laser on Mars was to serve as target practice for characterizing the instrument, but the activity may provide additional value. Researchers will check whether the composition changed as the pulses progressed. If it did change, that could indicate dust or other surface material being penetrated to reveal different composition beneath the surface.

"It's surprising that the data are even better than we ever had during tests on Earth, in signal-to-noise ratio," said ChemCam Deputy Project Scientist Sylvestre Maurice of the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie (IRAP) in Toulouse, France. "It's so rich, we can expect great science from investigating what might be thousands of targets with ChemCam in the next two years."

The technique used by ChemCam, called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, has been used to determine composition of targets in other extreme environments, such as inside nuclear reactors and on the sea floor, and has had experimental applications in environmental monitoring and cancer detection. Today's investigation of Coronation is the first use of the technique in interplanetary exploration.


Curiosity Zaps First Martian Rock
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 03:12:08 AM by zorgon »

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2012, 10:13:41 PM »
Curiosity Begins Driving at Bradbury Landing
August 22, 2012


NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has begun driving from its landing site, which scientists announced today they have named for the late author Ray Bradbury.

Making its first movement on the Martian surface, Curiosity's drive combined forward, turn and reverse segments. This placed the rover roughly 20 feet (6 meters) from the spot where it landed 16 days ago.


Curiosity's First Track Marks on Mars



This 360-degree panorama shows evidence of a successful first test drive for NASA's Curiosity rover. On Aug. 22, 2012, the rover made its first move, going forward about 15 feet (4.5 meters), rotating 120 degrees and then reversing about 8 feet (2.5 meters). Curiosity is about 20 feet (6 meters) from its landing site, now named Bradbury Landing.

Visible in the image are the rover's first track marks. A small 3.5-inch (9-centimeter) rock can be seen where the drive began, which engineers say was partially under one of the rear wheels. Scour marks left by the rover's descent stage during landing can be seen to the left and right of the wheel tracks. The lower slopes of Mount Sharp are visible at the top of the picture, near the center.

This mosaic from the rover's Navigation camera is made up of 23 full-resolution frames, displayed in a cylindrical projection.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Blue Skies on Mars

Focusing the 34-millimeter Mastcam



This image is from a series of test images to calibrate the 34-millimeter Mast Camera on NASA's Curiosity rover. It was taken on Aug. 23, 2012 and looks south-southwest from the rover's landing site.

The gravelly area around Curiosity's landing site is visible in the foreground. Farther away, about a third of the way up from the bottom of the image, the terrain falls off into a depression (a swale). Beyond the swale, in the middle of the image, is the boulder-strewn, red-brown rim of a moderately-sized impact crater. Father off in the distance, there are dark dunes and then the layered rock at the base of Mount Sharp. Some haze obscures the view, but the top ridge, depicted in this image, is 10 miles (16.2 kilometers) away.

Scientists enhanced the color in one version to show the Martian scene under the lighting conditions we have on Earth, which helps in analyzing the terrain. A raw version is also available.

The 34-millimeter Mastcam takes images with lower resolution, but a much wider field of view than the 100-millimeter Mastcam. A sharper version of the same scene from the telephoto 100-millimeter Mastcam can be seen at PIA16104.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS



http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/680999main_pia16102-full_full.jpg
http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/681068main_pia16104-full_full.jpg
http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/681054main_pia16105-full_full.jpg
http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/681006main_pia16099_full.jpg


Layers at the Base of Mount Sharp



A chapter of the layered geological history of Mars is laid bare in this postcard from NASA's Curiosity rover. The image shows the base of Mount Sharp, the rover's eventual science destination.

This image is a portion of a larger image taken by Curiosity's 100-millimeter Mast Camera on Aug. 23, 2012. See PIA16104. Scientists enhanced the color in one version to show the Martian


Making Tracks on Mars



This image shows the tracks left by NASA's Curiosity rover on Aug. 22, 2012, as it completed its first test drive on Mars. The rover went forward 15 feet (4.5 meters), rotated 120 degrees and then reversed 8.2 feet (2.5 meters). Curiosity is now 20 feet (6 meters) from its landing site, named Bradbury Landing.

This image was taken by a front Hazard-Avoidance camera, which has a fisheye lens.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


After the Laser Shots



Images taken before and after NASA's Curiosity rover shot its laser 50 times are shown here. The rover's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument shot its laser at rocks exposed by thrusters on the rover's sky crane at the scour mark called "Goulburn."

The images were taken by the instrument's remote micro-imager (RMI). They show differences in brightness at the impact spot as well as a slight change in shadows. The inset shows an area about 1 square-inch (2.5 centimeters per side). The target is about 19 feet (5.8 meters) away from the rover.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 10:41:40 PM by zorgon »

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2012, 10:22:49 PM »
Laser Plasmas on Earth and Mars



This image shows laser plasmas in a test lab at Los Alamos National Laboratory, N.M., under typical atmospheric pressures on Earth and Mars. A plasma is an ionized, glowing gas. The pressure on the Red Planet is only about one percent of that at sea level on Earth, allowing the plasma to expand more and become brighter. The laser beam, which is invisible, crosses the image from the left and strikes a metal target, creating the plasmas. Each image covers about 3 by 3 inches (75 by 75 millimeters). Image credit: LANL

Traces of Landing



This mosaic image shows part of the left side of NASA's Curiosity rover and two blast marks from the descent stage's rocket engines. The images that were used to make the mosaic were obtained by the rover's Navigation cameras on Aug. 7 PDT (Aug. 8 EDT).

The rim of Gale Crater is the lighter colored band across the horizon. The back of the rover is to the left. The blast marks can be seen in the middle of the image. Several small bits of rock and soil, which were made airborne by the rocket engines, are visible on the rover's top deck.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Curiosity's Heat Shield in Detail



This color full-resolution image showing the heat shield of NASA's Curiosity rover was obtained during descent to the surface of Mars on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The image was obtained by the Mars Descent Imager instrument known as MARDI and shows the 15-foot (4.5-meter) diameter heat shield when it was about 50 feet (16 meters) from the spacecraft.

This image shows the inside surface of the heat shield, with its protective multi-layered insulation. The bright patches are calibration targets for MARDI. Also seen in this image is the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrument (MEDLI) hardware attached to the inside surface.

At this range, the image has a spatial scale of 0.4 inches (1 cm) per pixel. It is the 36th MARDI image, obtained about three seconds after heat shield separation and about two and one-half minutes before touchdown. The original image from MARDI has been geometrically corrected to look flat. The thumbnail version of this image is available here .

Curiosity landed inside of a crater known as Gale Crater.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


Scene of a Martian Landing



The four main pieces of hardware that arrived on Mars with NASA's Curiosity rover were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured this image about 24 hours after landing. The large, reduced-scale image points out the strewn hardware: the heat shield was the first piece to hit the ground, followed by the back shell attached to the parachute, then the rover itself touched down, and finally, after cables were cut, the sky crane flew away to the northwest and crashed. Relatively dark areas in all four spots are from disturbances of the bright dust on Mars, revealing the darker material below the surface dust.

Around the rover, this disturbance was from the sky crane thrusters, and forms a bilaterally symmetrical pattern. The darkened radial jets from the sky crane are downrange from the point of oblique impact, much like the oblique impacts of asteroids. In fact, they make an arrow pointing to Curiosity.

The Curiosity rover is approximately 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) away from the heat shield; about 2,020 feet (615 meters) away from the parachute and back shell; and approximately 2,100 feet (650 meters) away from the discoloration consistent with the impact of the sky crane.

This image was acquired from a special 41-degree roll of MRO, larger than the normal 30-degree limit. It rolled towards the west and towards the sun, which increases visible scattering by atmospheric dust as well as the amount of atmosphere the orbiter has to look through, thereby reducing the contrast of surface features. Future images will show the hardware in greater detail. Our view is tilted about 45 degrees from the surface (more than the 41-degree roll due to planetary curvature), like a view out of an airplane window. Tilt the images 90 degrees clockwise to see the surface better from this perspective. The views are primarily of the shadowed side of the rover and other objects.

The image scale is 39 centimeters (15.3 inches) per pixel.

Complete HiRISE image products are available at: http://uahirise.org/releases/msl-descent.php.

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 10:44:26 PM by zorgon »

Offline zorgon

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Re: Curiosity's Landing on Mars
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2012, 10:34:08 PM »
Cross Section of Gale Crater, Mars



This artist's impression Mars' Gale Crater depicts a cross section through the mountain in the middle of the crater, from a viewpoint looking toward the southeast. The rover Curiosity of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission will land in Gale Crater in August 2012. The landing area is on or near an alluvial fan indicated in blue. A key factor in selection of Gale as the mission's landing site is the existence of clay minerals in a layer near the base of the mountain, within driving range of the landing site. The location of the clay minerals is indicated as the green band through the cross section of the mountain. The image uses two-fold vertical exaggeration to emphasize the area's topography. The crater's diameter is 96 miles (154 kilometers).

The image combines elevation data from the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, image data from the Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and color information from Viking Orbiter imagery.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS


Oblique View of Gale Crater, Mars, with Vertical Exaggeration



Gale Crater, where the rover Curiosity of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission will land in August 2012, contains a mountain rising from the crater floor. This oblique view of Gale Crater, looking toward the southeast, is an artist's impression using two-fold vertical exaggeration to emphasize the area's topography. Curiosity's landing site is on the crater floor northeast of the mountain. The crater's diameter is 96 miles (154 kilometers).

The image combines elevation data from the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, image data from the Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and color information from Viking Orbiter imagery.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 10:46:08 PM by zorgon »

 


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