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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Curiosity Has Landed
6 August 2012 3:19 am
It all worked. The 500,000 lines of computer code went off without a glitch. The 76 onboard explosive devices popped off in sequence to the microsecond, throwing valves and cutting loose tether lines. So Curiosity rover's 7 minutes of terror had the happiest of endings. At 1:37 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, word came down: "Touchdown confirmed. We're safe on Mars." Signals from Curiosity, followed within minutes by the first crude images of wheels on the ground, confirmed that it had safely touched down in Gale crater on Mars near enticing water-altered sediments at the foot of 5-kilometer-tall Mount Sharp.
Aside from burnishing NASA's reputation with the public and with budget cutters in Congress and the Obama Administration, the success demonstrated two technologies key to NASA's ambitions on the Red Planet. Guided entry—an onboard autonomous navigation system—brought Curiosity to its target area, one almost an order of magnitude smaller than previous landing targets. And the new "rover on a rope" sky-crane system safely set down the largest mass ever delivered to another planetary surface.
All of this will ease the way for the committee advising NASA leadership later this month on how the cash-strapped agency might proceed with the scientific exploration of Mars.