NASA said in a video how complicated is the rover’s landing this August at the Red Planet: there can be failures.
Curiosity Mars Landing
Will only seven minutes, but everything should work perfectly. The possibility of making a mistake is not covered. On 6 August, vehicle NASA’s robotic Curiosity will land on Mars in a very complicated precision maneuver fraught with danger. The mission will use a complex new landing system, which the rover will be placed gently on the surface by an auxiliary module. Moreover, a slight but crucial change in plans, will land exactly at the foot of Mount Sharp, in the center of the crater Gale, a great place for science operations without moving too much. This decision adds further risk to the maneuvers.
Travel 482 million miles through deep space to reach the planet Mars is difficult, but successful landing there is even more difficult, a real engineering work in which not a single failure can occur. The process of entering the red planet’s atmosphere before landing deceleration have been described as “seven minutes of terror”.
During the first four minutes from the entrance, friction with the atmosphere of Mars significantly slows the speed of a spacecraft. But at the end of this phase, the vehicle is still traveling at over 1,600 mph, just 100 seconds before landing. A parachute opens to slow the craft to a speed of about 322 kilometers per hour, but are 90 meters to reach the ground.
Due to the weight and size of Curiosity-powerful and strong, weighing nearly a thousand kilos and has six giant-wheels, the traditional method of landing airbag used with other rovers may not be used. From there, the spacecraft will use thrusters to provide a soft landing and finally straps to lower the rover to the surface. The mill will be suspended from ropes tied to a rocket-pack, called “Sky Crane”.
Hit the target
The “runway” landing is small, its dimensions are 7 x 20 km, much less than originally contemplated. The level of risk assumed by NASA is very high and success is not guaranteed.
If successful, the Curiosity will launch a major scientific exploration that can last years. Look for places where there are signs of past or present life. Mount Sharp, formed by sediment washed once filled the crater, can be a good place for it, because it can reveal the geological history maricana. There is nothing like it on Earth.
In the new video (shown above), which combine graphics and real images of the Red Planet, NASA will explain how the landing maneuver in detail.