25 June 2012

Mars! You poke my Curiosity.

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL, or Curiosity) is a Mars rover launched by Nasa on November 26, 2011. Currently en route to the planet, it is scheduled to land in Gale Crater at about 05:31 UTC on August 6, 2012. The rover's objectives include searching for past or present life, studying the Martian climate, studying Martian geology, and collecting data for a future manned mission to Mars.

The project is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of California Institute of Technology. When MSL launched, the program's director was Doug McCuistion of NASA's Planetary Science Division.

Here is a great video from Nasa on the landing of the rover. This last leg of this epic journey into interplanetary exploration within our solar system shows how the project is simply over futuristic.

There are 42 days left before the Mars rover landing. On August 6th the small car size rover willl be expected to land in Gale Crater on the surface of Mars to look for evidence of life.

Here are the goals and objectives of the Mars Science Laboratory project.
The MSL (Mars Science Laboratory) mission has four scientific goals:
  1. Determine whether Mars could ever have supported life
  2. Study the climate of Mars
  3. Study the geology of Mars
  4. Plan for a human mission to Mars
To contribute to these goals, MSL has six main scientific objectives:
  1. Determine the mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials.
  2. Attempt to detect chemical building blocks of life (biosignatures).
  3. Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils.
  4. Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) Martian atmospheric evolution processes.
  5. Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide.
  6. Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic radiation, cosmic radiation, solar proton events and secondary neutrons.
As part of its exploration, it is measuring the radiation exposure in the interior of the spacecraft as it travels to Mars, important data for a future manned mission.

READ more on Wikipedia: Mars Science Laboratory