Monday, August 6, 2012

NASA's “Curiosity” lands safely on Mars!


That´s why Curiosity is so large (right), compared to Spirit/Opportunity (left, 2004) and Sojourner (1997). It takes a car-sized rover to carry so many tools.NASA/JPL-Caltech

I watched the NASA TV channel as the car-seized rover “Curiosity” landed just as planned on the Martian surface shortly after 12:30 am (CST) on August 6th. And soon after it sent the first two photos! One showed the Martian landscape and one of the rover’s wheels on the right-hand side. The second photo included “Curiosity’s” silhouette. It’s hard to grasp that we can see almost right away images of what is millions of miles away!

The first photo "Curiosity" sent to earth. Notice the rover's wheel on the right corner.  First visual confirmation that the landing was a success. NASA
Dust sprinkled “Curiosity’s” camera lenses. It came from the ground the rockets stirred as they helped the almost 2,000 pound rover touchdown safely. You have to see the video of the simulation of the landing process. It was quite a different type of landing in comparison with the previous ones. Instead of dropping the rover inside a bouncing ball, a hovering crane dropped it on the ground. Check out this link to learn more about the mission. Kids would love to see this.

This milestone is nothing less than a major achievement of science and engineering and to complement the NASA link above I suggest the two books I show here. They are about the first two Mars rovers, “Spirit” and “Opportunity,” for younger (left) and older readers.
Congratulations to all involved in this amazing mission. I can’t wait to learn more about “Curiosity’s” findings. Are there (were there) any microbes on Mars? Stay tuned!
Learning about this mission could be an engaging way to introduce students to space exploration, the planet Mars, and all the physics and engineering basics that support this outstanding achievement. What a source of inspiration for young scientists everywhere! I wonder, where will they take us next?

Great review for "The Mighty Mars Rovers."

Check more nonfiction posts at Nonfiction Monday's host site "Shelf employed."

3 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you posted this. My daughter and I were also up at 1:30am (EDT) watching Curiosity land. (She's home from college where she's studying Astroengineering.) This is indeed a great accomplishment. Thanks for putting it perspective literally (with photos) and literally (with books). A great read for adults is Mary Roach's, Packing for Mars, an informed but entertaining look at the preparations necessary to send a manned craft to Mars.

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  2. My husband and I were stuck to the TV and celebrated also when Curiosity landed with no problems. I had to blog about it. I went to bed at 3am! Totally worth it. Thank you for the book recommendation for adults. It's in my "Must read" list.

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