Monday, August 06, 2012

They did it!

Scene of celebration of Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Curiousity Mars Lander has successfully landed in Mars! This is a picture of the landing.

It is the most complex landing of any object in remote planet ever. It involves a parachute, a sky crane and a lander. This is science fiction stuff.

5.57am: The spacecraft is now inside the orbit of the Martain moon, Phobos. During the entry, landing and descent phase, some 76 pyrotechnic charges will be fired aboard to probe to release weights and release the parachute. Shedding twin 75kg tungsten weights on arrival allows the spacecraft to get aerodynamic lift: instead of dropping like a stone, it can fly through the thin Martian atmosphere. The spacecraft has to sense its position and atmospheric conditions and use small onboard thrusters to steer its way to the landing site.

5.53am: The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is now within 10,000km (6,200 miles) of the planet. The probe accelerates as it arrives at Mars, then slows as it ploughs into the atmosphere. One of the first moves the spacecraft makes pulls the heat shield into a forwards position. Friction with the atmosphere will raise the temperature of the shield to more than 2000C.

Check this page to get the first images beamed from Mars.

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