Red Rover, Red RoverPosted: 7 August 2012
My “political walkabout” has given me the chance to get caught up with important issues….I wish I could say that I miss not trying to make sense from a pathetic election, but I cannot….it is refreshing to do something relaxing……..
And now for more sciencey stuff!
For decades there has been a debate on whether there is life on Mars or if it now extinct or if Mars is just a rock in space…….the possibility that we could have an answer very soon……we have agent working on the surface that may be able to answer the questions that have long plagued man…..
Newser) – The Curiosity rover landed safely on Mars early this morning, prompting whoops of joy and relief in NASA’s mission control center, reports the New York Times. The rover quickly beamed back a picture of its own shadow cast on the surface of the Red Planet. “Touchdown confirmed. We are safe on the surface of Mars!” the team read out after receiving signals from the rover.
After a journey of 354 million miles, the rover, which is much bigger and more complex than previous models, had to land in a new way that could never be fully tested on Earth, leading to what control room staff described as “seven minutes of terror” before confirmation was received, notes the Washington Post. As earlier reported, the spacecraft ferrying it had to rely on a supersonic parachute to slow it from 13,200mph to about 1.7mph; with seconds to go, the rover was then lowered to the surface using three nylon tethers and retro rockets.
WE may wait on the edge of our chairs…well those of us that care….waiting for the answers…..Curiosity is loaded with the most sophisticated instruments to study Mars’ environment _ with convoluted names to match. “Mastcam” refers to the pair of 2-megapixel color cameras on the rover’s “head.” “SAM” _ short for Sample Analysis at Mars _ is the mobile chemistry lab designed to sniff for carbon compounds. “ChemCam” stands for Chemistry and Camera, otherwise known as the rock-zapping laser. And “RAD”? That’s the radiation detector.
Here are a few fun facts about Mars……
About the color: It’s called the red planet because the landscape is stained rusty-red by the iron-rich dust.
_Quick weight loss: Its gravity is only 38 percent that of Earth. So if you weigh 150 pounds on Earth, you would weigh 57 pounds on Mars.
_Hot and cold: Mars’ temperatures can range from 80 degrees at its equator to -199 degrees at its poles.
_The air is different: Mars’ atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide with traces of nitrogen and argon. Earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen and other gases.
_Longer days: They last 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth.
The space agency has William Shatner detail what it expects to happen, including the Hollywood-esque “seven minutes of terror” that precedes the landing, reports SkyNews. If Kirk doesn’t cut it for you, another Trekkie, actor Wil Wheaton, also made a video.