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August 7, 2012
NASA Lands Car-Size Rover Beside Martian Mountain
Photo: Field of Stars: Messier 107 is one of more than 150 globular star clusters found around the disc of the Milky Way galaxy. These spherical collections each contain hundreds of thousands of extremely old stars and are among the oldest objects in the Milky Way. Messier 107 is located about 20,000 light-years from our solar system. French astronomer Pierre Mechain first noted the object in 1782, and British astronomer William Herschel documented it independently a year later. This picture was obtained with the Wide Field Camera of Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. Image credit: ESA/NASA.
Photo: Curiosity’s Surroundings: This is one of the first images taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars on the morning of Aug. 6, 2012. The cameras are looking directly into the sun, so the top of the image is saturated. As planned, the rover’s early engineering images are lower resolution. Larger color images from other cameras are expected later in the week when the rover’s mast, carrying high-resolution cameras, is deployed. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Photo: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Entry, Descent and Landing Engineer Adam Steltzner reacts after the Curiosity rover successfully landed on Mars and as first images start coming in to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Pasadena, Calif. The MSL Rover named Curiosity was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls).
Photo: Adam Steltzner, Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) entry, descent and landing phase lead, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, holds a model of the MSL spacecraft during a briefing held at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Thursday, August 2, 2012 in Pasadena, Calif. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls).
Photo: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Flight Systems Chief Engineer Rob Manning, left, MSL Entry, Descent and Landing Engineers Adam Steltzner, second from left, Steve Lee and Anita Sangupta, right give a briefing during a NASA Social held to preview the landing of the MSL Curiosity rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Pasadena, Calif. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls).
• NASA’s most advanced Mars rover Curiosity has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Sunday to end a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation.
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft that carried Curiosity succeeded in every step of the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars, including the final severing of the bridle cords and flyaway maneuver of the rocket backpack.
“Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity, the most sophisticated rover ever built, is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars — or if the planet can sustain life in the future,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “This is an amazing achievement, made possible by a team of scientists and engineers from around the world and led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory. President Obama has laid out a bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030’s, and today’s landing marks a significant step toward achieving this goal.”
Curiosity returned its first view of Mars, a wide-angle scene of rocky ground near the front of the rover. “Our Curiosity is talking to us from the surface of Mars,” said MSL Project Manager Peter Theisinger of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. “The landing takes us past the most hazardous moments for this project, and begins a new and exciting mission to pursue its scientific objectives.”
Confirmation of Curiosity’s successful landing came in communications relayed by NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter and received by the Canberra, Australia, antenna station of NASA’s Deep Space Network.
Posted by Editors at August 7, 2012 12:20 PM | Link to this Post