NASA’s ‘Curiosity’ readies to hit the Martian road

The US space agency has said its Mars rover appears to be working “flawlessly,” with a lengthy period of instrument checks almost complete. The Curiosity rover will soon re-start its sluggish search for signs of life. NASA’s Mars rover, “Curiosity,” will wrap up a lengthy self-testing phase on Thursday, freeing it up to continue exploring […]
The US space agency has said its Mars rover appears to be working “flawlessly,” with a lengthy period of instrument checks almost complete. The Curiosity rover will soon re-start its sluggish search for signs of life.
NASA’s Mars rover, “Curiosity,” will wrap up a lengthy self-testing phase on Thursday, freeing it up to continue exploring the surface of the Red Planet. Mission manager Jennifer Tropser told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday evening that the plan, once the final checks were completed, was to “drive, drive, drive” until Curiosity discovers a rock suitable for analysis. She added that the instrument checks have delivered positive results. “Through every phase of the check-out, Curiosity has performed almost flawlessly,” Tropser said. “The success so far of these activities has been outstanding.” Many of the tests have concerned Curiosity’s robotic arm. The 2.1-meter (7-feet) appendage will be used to pick out and sample rocks and soil. NASA is investigating whether Mars can sustain life, or whether it could in the past. The tests were designed to identify any damage sustained during its interplanetary flight and also to ensure that the arm still functioned properly on Mars, with its different temperatures and gravity. The Mars rover landed in the giant Gale Crater, near the Martian equator, on August 5; it has so far moved about 109 meters within the crater. The rover is traveling east, heading first to an intersection called Glenelg, where three types of terrain meet. This is likely to be the location for the first rock and soil samples, though NASA said Curiosity was unlikely to arrive there for several weeks. Curiosity’s ultimate destination is the nearby Aeolis Mons or Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-high mound of rock rising out of the crater. Mount Sharp is about 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) away from Curiosity’s landing site. The $2.5-billion (1.93-billion-euro) six-wheeled rolling science lab is designed to last two years in order to complete its Mars mission.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Planet Mars is a piece of art! Who would have thought?

The otherworldly beauty of the surface of Mars has been captivating us for nearly for decades.  The images below provide insights into the history, climate and geology of our nearest planet. See more of the stunning Mar’s images here.
The otherworldly beauty of the surface of Mars has been captivating us for nearly for decades.  The images below provide insights into the history, climate and geology of our nearest planet.
Taken by Mars Exploration Rover
See more of the stunning Mar’s images here.
Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

NASA repositions Mars spacecraft for direct information to earth

THE National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has successfully adjusted its orbital location to be in a better position to provide prompt confirmation of the August landing of the Curiosity rover. NASA is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space programme and for […]
THE National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has successfully adjusted its orbital location to be in a better position to provide prompt confirmation of the August landing of the Curiosity rover. NASA is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space programme and for aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA in a statement made available to The Guardian from Washington yesterday said the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft carrying Curiosity “can send limited information directly to Earth as it enters Mars’ atmosphere.” Before the landing, Earth will set below the Martian horizon from the descending spacecraft’s perspective, ending that direct route of communication. Odyssey will help to speed up the indirect communication process. Meanwhile, for several days this month, Greenland’s surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick centre, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists. On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter