New Mars rover landing tonight

Submitted by M2NASA on August 5th, 2012 at 9:35 PM

The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity will be landing on Mars tonight at 1:30am. Mission status at the link below.

Definitely not OT since Michigan is very well represented at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and working MSL.

Also, the Sample Analysis Module on MSL carries electronics built by UofM.

MSL is about twice as long (about 9 feet) and four times as heavy as NASA’s previous Mars Exploration rovers. It will carry equipment to gather samples of rocks and soil, crush them, and then distribute them to onboard test chambers inside MSL’s analytical instruments. One of the most critical of these instruments, the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite (SAM), carries electronics designed and built by the space Physics Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan.

Space bitches, space.



August 6th, 2012 at 7:51 AM ^

Its kinda sad that Ive been called a nerd several times already by my wife and coworkers, (the ones that even had any clue this was happening) when the engineering that has gone into this is IMO orders of magnitude more impressive than anything in the olympics. Not that olympians aren't impressive, but come on. This stuff just blows my mind. Yet it will never compare to Will & Kate's wedding or even dancing with the stars. Hell, I bet Snooki being pregnant gets more pub than this will.


August 6th, 2012 at 9:48 AM ^

My understanding is that part of designing the landing this way was to test sky crane technology. As I understand it, they intend to use sky cranes to help assemble semi-permanenet habitats on Mars for the first manned missions.

Clarence Beeks

August 6th, 2012 at 10:58 AM ^

This would be an amazing success for a first attempt, if that's the case. I don't know how many people watched the live coverage, especially the coverage well after the landing, but the crew was doing a mission review and rundown of the stats from entry to landing and the final touchdown speed was absolutely amazing. It was something like 0.006 m/s (might be one more or one less zero [forgive my memory, it was way late], but it doesn't much matter for the point), which is just stunning considering just how much the whole unit had to decelerate after entry (I want to say that it was something like 200 m/s before the chute, then the chute slowed it down to something like 20 m/s, then the rockets brought it to zero (ie hovering)) to allow the unit to hover and then oh so gently lower the rover to the ground.

steve wooderson

August 6th, 2012 at 2:34 PM ^

Now Michigan St. recruiting ceases to be international and becomes interplanetary.

Surely Mars has plenty of overlooked, jealous, bitter losers ready to cast their lot with The Danner.