Curiosity rover celebrates 10th anniversary of landing

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Today, NASA’s Curiosity rover celebrates 10 years on Mars, and it’s still in operation since landing on August 6, 2012. As the first of a new design for the Mars rover along with Perseverance, Curiosity has not only provided illuminating scientific information about the history and geology of the planet, but also demonstrated many engineering concepts that made rovers bigger and better than ever before.

When you think of a rover, many people imagine something small, like the microwave-sized Sojourner that landed on Mars in 1997, or the golf-cart-sized Opportunity and Spirit rovers that landed in 2004. But Curiosity ushered in a much larger rover, as it and Perseverance are the size of a car and much heavier than their pioneering brethren. This increase in size and mass means the new rovers can carry much more sophisticated scientific instruments, turning the rovers from pint-sized explorers that could only collect basic data into mobile laboratories. This principle is where Curiosity got its technical mission name, Mars Science Laboratory.

A poster produced by NASA to celebrate Curiosity’s 10th anniversary on the Red Planet. NASA/JPL-Caltech

However, a larger and heavier rover faces a bigger challenge in terms of how it can be landed on Mars. Previous generations of rovers were covered in airbags and essentially dropped to the surface, where they bounced before coming to rest with the air in the airbags protecting them from impact. But Curiosity’s considerable mass made the airbags ineffective, so a new landing system was developed.

The sky crane system which brought Curiosity and Perseverance safely to the Martian surface, operates using a jetpack that fires engines to slow descent while the rover descends on cables. Once the rover has landed, the tethers are disconnected and the jet pack flies away to avoid entanglement between it and the rover. This system helps place the rover in a specific and predictable location, as opposed to the unpredictable bouncing of airbags, and it can safely land much heavier rovers.

Curiosity immediately captured the hearts of the audience and had a stunning effect images of the Martian landscape also how Beautiful pictures of clouds in addition to his job is looking for signs of ancient life and measuring the atmosphere of Mars. Some of the most popular information projects involved huge high resolution panoramas and videos showing Gale Craterwhere he researches.

Mars is still a harsh environment, and Curiosity had to face such challenges sharp stones which damaged his wheels. To mitigate this problem, the rover’s driver team is careful about how they use Curiosity to ensure that there is as little damage to the hardware as possible so that it can run as long as possible.

“Once you land on Mars, everything you do is based on the fact that there’s no one around to repair it for 100 million miles,” said Andy Mishkin, Curiosity’s acting project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. . statement. “It’s all about making smart use of what’s already on your rover.”

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Curiosity rover celebrates 10th anniversary of landing

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