NASA’s newest rover, Curiosity has finally finished its month of preparation and will finally begin to explore the red planets landscape. Many will have already heard about this engineering miracle but in case you haven’t Curiosity is about the size of a small car it is mounted with multiple cameras which take high definition photographs in black and white and full colour. Some of the more impressive features include an on-board chemistry laboratory which is used to analyse the Martian rocks and also a spectrometric laser.
Not only was this Rover an engineering breakthrough but also the landing mechanism was the most challenging ever attempted. With the Rover being catapulted from orbit to the surface of the planet at 13,200 miles per hour and had to be slowed down to around 1,050 miles an hour via parachute deployment. After this the landing craft needed to use thrusters to slow down the Rover entirely and float it down to the Martian surface. As if this wasn’t risky enough due to the distance that Mars is from Earth and the limitations of the speed of light the whole procedure had to be automated with no human intervention.
The Rover will now begin its scouring of the red planet in search for life. I’m sure many stories will be written over the next few months as we follow its progress.