Subscribe
 
  • Dick writes about Earth and planetary science for Science magazine.
 

ScienceShot: Seven Minutes of Terror at Mars

29 June 2012 1:38 pm
Comments

NASA engineers are finally admitting what the rest of us knew all along: Landing the Curiosity rover on Mars on 5 August at 10:31 PDT by dangling it beneath a rocket-festooned flying platform is just plain scary. They designed this "sky-crane"—along with a beefed-up heat shield and parachute—to slow 3 tons of spacecraft from bullet speeds to a gentle stop on the surface in 7 minutes. Plus their targeted landing zone this time—they are six for seven for Mars landings—is one-fifth the size of previous landing zones. All this will be in the hands of the spacecraft and its 500,000 lines of code. In a new video of Curiosity's "entry, descent, and landing," NASA engineers explain how they think they have solved the toughest EDL problem.

See more ScienceShots.

Posted In: 

What's New