Curiosity, the name given to the un-manned rover destined to find out if previous life has ever lived on Mars, has successfully landed on the red planet.
After waking up today, the first thing I heard on the news was that the rover had made a successful landing, something which was most definitely not a certainty before today. To be honest, I hadn’t heard too much about this visit to Mars as there’s been nothing but non-stop Olympics on the box, but after checking out a few sources online I’ve learned that the process of getting the un-manned rover onto the surface of Mars has been probably one of the most tekkers things us humanoids have ever achieved.
There was a lot of speculation as to whether Curiosity would even make it onto the surface of Mars without disintegrating, smashing into a million pieces or just plain disappearing off the face of, um, Mars, as the landing itself was extremely complicated. First up, when Curiosity was in reaching distance of the red planet, it would lose contact with ground control for 7 minutes, known as the ‘7 minutes of terror’ if you’re in with the lingo down at Nasa HQ. During this time, Curiosity would have to perform some pretty impressive moves to arrive from traveling faster than the speed of sound, to a safe arrival on the ground of Mars, using heat shields, rockets and some other tech tricks. All of this on it’s own accord, while the boys and girls back at Nasa wait patiently to receive a signal to confirm that the rover has landed safely.
Here’s a video that explains brilliantly what Curiosity had to do to land on Mars.
At around 7AM this morning, it was confirmed that Curiosity made a safe landing on Mars. Here’s one of the first images Curiosity has transmitted back to earth, as well as a detailed image of the landing procedur and a live stream from Nasa HQ. Just check out how happy they all are! Well done guys.