NASA successfully lands its car sized rover “Curiosity” on the surface of Mars after a 36 week flight through space at 10:32 p.m Aug 5th PDT.
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) successfully carried the rover to the Red Planet and set it on the surface using bridle cords to make this the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars.
An extremely intense moment overcame the team at JPL in Pasadena, California when they entered what they called “The Seven Minutes of Terror” in which the the whole mission was on autopilot as curiosity entered the martian atmosphere.
Curiosity has already returned many images from the surface of Mars as the rover is successfully communicating with the team at JPL. Curiosity carries 10 science instruments that have a combined mass 15 times larger than the previous rover payloads of Spirit and Opportunity. Some of these tools are the first of their kind to be used on Mars including a laser firing instrument that checks the elemental composition of rocks.
This mission personally brought back a lot of good feelings about the space program which has felt pretty slow lately. I hope we continue to push towards more exploration and advance our knowledge of the cosmos. There is an unknown amount potential in the universe that has yet to be tapped and I don’t think many people realize how important it is to keep testing our abilities and expanding our knowledge of the universe around us.