News

NASA rover lands on Mars

NASA Ames scientists involved in Curiosity's search for signs of microbial life

The rover Curiosity landed on Mars Sunday night shortly before 10:30 p.m., according to NASA officials.

The 1-ton rover was launched into space 36 weeks ago to determine if Mars could host microbial life.

A previous mission, the Mars Pathfinder, successfully sent a roving laboratory to Mars in 1997.

Sunday's two-year mission is unique for those on Earth because parts of the multi-billion dollar mission will be live streamed through NASA's website.

"Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity, the most sophisticated rover ever built, is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars -- or if the planet can sustain life in the future," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement. "President Obama has laid out a bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030s, and today's landing marks a significant step toward achieving this goal."

The car-sized rover landed Aug. 5 near the foot of a mountain 3 miles tall and 96 miles in diameter inside Gale Crater. Curiosity returned its first view of Mars, a wide-angle scene of rocky ground near the front of the rover, NASA officials said. More images are anticipated in the next several days as the mission blends observations of the landing site with activities to configure the rover for work and check the performance of its instruments and mechanisms.

Testing of Curiosity's entry, descent and landing was conducted at NASA Ames in Mountain View, and Ames scientists will be involved in the equipment and analysis of the mineral content of the rocks and soil on Mars, according to NASA Ames' website.

Images and video are being posted on Curiosity's Facebook page and updates are being posted on Twitter.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report

Comments

Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm

This is an incredible achievement, everyone should be extremely proud to be part of a civilization that can do this kind of exploration. It is very very very hard to do what they made look easy last night. Don't forget that one of two rovers launched in 2003 is still exporing Mars, and Curiosity could be exploring for Decades. If you have or know children I encourage you to go to the NASA website and watch the landing video with them. I watched it live on NASA TV and it was so fast and exciting I nearly fainted sitting down.

Web Link


Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm


The Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument on Curiosity was developed over decades bay David Blake at NASA Ames. Instruments using the same technology have been used to detect counterfeit drugs.

Web Link


Posted by Teresa, a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

This is funny. A correction to an earlier post is itself in need of correction.


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