Mars Landing 2012: The New Search for Life – Daily Planet co-hosts Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin provide extensive coverage as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab embarks on the final stages of the most complex Mars mission in history. Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), more lovingly known as Curiosity, weighs a metric ton. That’s 900 kilos of genius packed into a machine as wide as a Hummer. She’s the Einstein of robots, and she has one painstaking question to answer: is there, or has there ever been life on Mars?
Follow Curiosity on her journey, through these simulated views, which are updated daily.
From Curiosity’s custom-built heat shield designed to withstand intense, 1,600 C degree heat and speeds up to 21,735 km/hr, to her state-of-the-art supersonic parachute that will endure 29,484 kilos of force – Curiosity is set to break all records. For the first time ever, a rover will be able to supply NASA – and the rest of the world – with stunning HD images from 17 different cameras. She will be able to zap rocks with a laser that’s as powerful as a million light bulbs focused on the head of a pin. She will drive for hundreds of kilometers and use her massive robotic arm to drill into Gale Crater; a multi-layered cake of Martian history.
The project is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, with the ultimate goal of landing Curiosity on Mars, in Gale Crater, at about 1:31 a.m. EST on August 6 (10:31 p.m. PST), in just a month’s time. Entry, Decent and Landing – or EDL – is known as the seven minutes of terror. Curiosity has seven minutes to get from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the surface – these seven minutes will have every scientist and engineer back on earth holding their breath. Instead of the tried-and-tested airbag landing of past Mars missions, Curiosity will use the sky crane touchdown system, which will be capable of delivering a much larger rover onto the surface. If all goes according to plan – a BIG IF – then the crane will place the rover on its wheels, ready to begin her mission…
Channel: Discovery Channel Canada
Producer: Exploration Production Inc.
TX: 6th August 2012
Source: Bell Media press release