Mars Rover Executes Flawless Landing on Mars (Pictures)
We are all wheels down on Mars, the official word from mission control as NASA’s new Mars rover Curiosity executed a flawless landing sequence on the surface of its new home. As engineers hugged, applauded and shed a few tears, deputy project director Richard Cook said that the landing rocked and was so cool.
Just a few minutes after landing, Curiosity cameras caught the first images of Mars showing pebbles, dust and the rover’s shadow on the surface of the red planet. NASA administrator Charles Bolden said that it was incredible and a huge day for the American people. Most of the Mars missions in the past have failed so anxiety of this mission was in an all time high but thanks to the spacecraft and complex landing sequence executed made everything perfect.
After several days of warming up the nuclear powered rover can now begin its primary mission which is sampling and drilling the Martian surface for possible signs of habitability. This Mars mission has been in planning for more than 14 years. Previous rovers Spirit and Opportunity showed scientists that the planet has a complex past when water was prevalent on the planet’s surface. The purpose behind the Curiosity rover was to send a machine that has the capability of a state of the art laboratory to investigate the planet’s history in detail.
The rover will use this toolkit to perform field geology since its main mission is to determine whether Mars would or was able to host life following NASA’s follow the water philosophy. Meaning it rover needs to determine if the water rich past of the planet had the right chemistry and energy to create and sustain organisms.
During its two year mission the Curiosity rover will drill, sample and laser shoot rocks on the surface and try to figure out what kind of materials and elements they contain. Furthermore the probe will search of organic carbon that will indicate sign of fossilized life forms and to check the atmosphere for gasses such as methane which could mean sign of present day life in Mars.