News and Views

From my kids accomplishments, to my heretical perspective of the world

News and Views header image 2

Curiosity has landed!

August 5th, 2012 · 2 Comments

NASA and JPL successfully landed the Curiosity vehicle on Mars this evening. What an amazing landing! It started with a heat shield slowing it down in the atmosphere, then progressed to a parachute, and finished with a soft rocket landing with the rover suspended from a cable. See the video for a neat animation of the full process. When I first saw the animation I thought, “No way will they pull this off!” It looked too complex with too many things that could go wrong.

The landing was not visible, but on NASA TV I watched the control room at JPL in Pasadena as they monitored the descent. The room exploded into cheers, hugs and tears as it was confirmed that it was safely down. A couple of low resolution pictures came through before the relay satellite moved out of range.

It’s not quite as impressive as the moon landings, but it is an amazing technological feat, as are the capabilities of the vehicle itself, a complex chemistry and geology lab on wheels. It’s about the size of a Chevy Volt.

I’m looking forward to seeing some high resolution images, probably as early as tomorrow morning.

More info here.

Tags: Computers, Tech & Science

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Donna // Aug 6, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Pretty cool, indeed.

  • 2 Richard // Aug 6, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I watched it live too! Amazing that anything that complex could actually work.