We are on Mars again. At 05:14:39 UTC on August 6th 2012 the Mars rover Curiosity landed on Mars. This is a great achievement for NASA as this is a completely different size, type, and landing than all rovers before it. Thanks to NASA TV I got to watch it live which was truly exciting. Just like the Moon landing by Apollo 11, being able to watch it live is a real thrill and with the difficulty of this landing it made it even more terrifying.
I spent over 2 hours watching NASA TV just so I could watch the landing and hear what was happening in the control room at JPL. If you did not watch it you missed a great moment because these are the journeys that lead us to exploring Mars by humans. This marks a real technological event in my lifetime and once you read more about the rover and see how everything happened will really prove how great this is. We are insuring that we are exploring our Solar System and hopefully by 2030 we can finally reach another planet.
The Curiosity rover is a marvel to look at and it is the first real science laboratory we have sent. It is over three meters long and about six feet tall. Compared to the other rovers this is much bigger and its mission requires it. It is a mobile chemistry lab and will be able to test the soil and really help us understand the landscape and find out what is really there. It is based at Gale Crater which is a deep crater that also has a large mountain known as Aeolis Mons which Curiosity will eventually climb.
Well the hard part is done and what is known as the seven minutes of terror is done and over with. Unlike other landings were a pod just lands on the surface this was much more difficult and new technology had to be developed. Having to use a supersonic parachute, a rocket pod, and a sky crane all to make it to the surface. This in it self is a great feat and to have come up wit hall the since and math to place it in the smallest landing zone ever is really inspiring. The whole country deserves this and the cost of this is estimated at about $7 per American which I am more than happy to pay for this excitement. Space puts us to work and so many people were involved in creating and handling the missions.
We were able to see the first images tonight of the surface which let us know that Curiosity made it safely. These images may not seem like a lot to some of you but to me these are humbling because this is a new image of a place we have yet to see and being able to know its from another planet is a testament to our reach to wanting to know more. I truly believe that our meaning of life and existence as humans is to explore. Curiosity is human nature and is the perfect naming. I hope you enjoy the first few images and be able to appreciate the meanings behind this. Also below are screen shots from watching the live feed along with a video so you can see and hear the excitement of the landing. I will say I was bummed when I did not see a martian welcoming committee in the first images. You can also see pictures from NASA here.
I can’t wait to live on Mars.