Everything Worked Perfectly


After all the hype, all the nail biting, NASA‘s “seven minutes of terror” ticked away with clockwork precision.

exactly on schedule—the Curiosity rover flawlessly executed its improbably complex Mars-landing sequence and soon began sending its first photos.

To go from hypersonic space capsule to naked, wheels-down rover, the vehicle, due to its unprecedented bulk, had to undergo multiple reconfigurations—each a potential mission killer.

And yet, the landing “was fantastic,” said mechanical-systems engineer Tommaso Rivellini, who helped design the Mars landing procedure.

“From what we can tell right now, it looks like a textbook landing,” said Rivellini, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, where news of the landing was met with cheers, tears, and high fives.

First Pictures From Mars Rover

In a welcome bonus, within two or three minutes the rover had sent back two tiny black-and-white pictures, one showing a wheel safely on Mars, the other showing Curiosity’s shadow, elongated by low-angle Martian sunlight.

There had been no guarantee the rover would be able to snap the photos fast enough to relay them to Earth via the Mars-orbiting Odyssey spacecraft. The orbiter was expected to be in range of Curiosity—aka the Mars Science Laboratory—for mere minutes during the landing.

source : http://news.nationalgeographic.co.in/news/2012/08/120806-mars-rover-jpl-landing-nasa-curiosity-science-space-photos/

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