Sunday, August 5, 2012

Curiosity Lands on Mars - The JPL Good Luck Peanuts Worked

First photo from Curiosity form Mars, just after landing.

Mission control cheers.
After a tense 7 minutes going through the Martian atmosphere on August 5, 2012 (I watched it on NASA TV in my location on August 6, with the landing taking place just before 2pm), the Curiosity Mars Rover has touched down safely on the surface of Mars inside Gale Crater, a geological feature that may hold clues to possible ancient life on the red planet. Through the orbiting Opportunity satellite, Curiosity sent back to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), several pictures, with the first one taken just shortly after it touched down (top) with the dust still flying around it. The second picture also shows one of it's wheels. The third one of of the rover's shadow. (below).

JPL good luck peanuts.
Curiosity will now start it's two-year mission studying the exposed layers of Martian soil in the crater. It's powered by nuclear decay and is expected to outlast its warranty for as long as it does not encounter any unexpected accident. It may well reach the top of the peak in the middle of the crater and then explore the nearby areas. The traditional good luck peanuts of JPL (left) had done its job well.

Curiosity takes a photo of its shadow.

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