curiosity: big mars rover for big mars science!

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CURIOSITY: Big Mars Rover for Big Mars Science!. Artist’s Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech. NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Artist’s Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech. Curiosity launched on an Atlas V-541, the largest rocket for launching to a planet. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • CURIOSITY: Big Mars Rover for Big Mars Science!Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • NASAs Mars Rover Curiosity launchedfrom Cape Canaveral in Florida.Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Curiosity launched on an Atlas V-541, the largest rocket for launching to a planet.Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

    It is propelled toward Mars by a Centaur upper stage.

  • Curiosity is headed to Gale Crater.


    You can see where other Mars landers and rovers have successfully landed on Mars too.

  • Gale Crater is about 96 miles wide. It has many rock layers for Curiosity to explore, from canyons to channels, all in one place!NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • At Gale, Curiosity will study Martian rocks and mineralsthat hold clues to whether Mars ever could havesupported small life forms called microbes. False Color, Panoramic Camera, on Opportunity rover NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

  • Curiosity will pick up where other Mars rovers left off.Beyond signs of water, the rover will look for signs of organics, the chemical building blocks of life. Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Curiosity is targeted to land within the yellow ellipse, on flat terrain near Gales central mound.NASAJPL-Caltech/ASU/UA

    Central Mound

  • The 3-mile-high mound has multiple rock layers. Each rock layer reveals a different time in Mars history.Some have clays and sulfates, which both form in water.


    Beyond signs of water, the rover will look for signs of organics, the chemical building blocks of life.

  • To find out if Mars ever could have supported microbial life, the team built a lot of science tools on the rover to study rocks and soil up close. NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Rocks hold the record of what past environments on Mars were like.

  • Here are some of Curiositys main tools for studying Mars.You can see that the rover is packed with tools!NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Thats why Curiosity is so large.It takes a car-sized rover to carry so many tools.NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Curiosity is twice the sizeof Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity and five times as heavy.NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Among Curiositys tools are seventeen cameras, a laser to zap rocks, and a drill to collect rock samples. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Curiosity will use her camera eyes to take images of the Martian landscape and to study rock layers.

    Some of these rock layers hold clues to whetherMars could have ever been a habitat for life.

    These two cameras are called Mastcam.NASAJPL-Caltech

  • Engineers built a laser with a tool called a spectrometer, which detects chemical elements in rocks. It is called ChemCam. NASAJPL-Caltech/LANL

    On Curiositys head is ChemCams laser system.

    In its body is the part of the spectrometer that will detect different chemical elements in rocks.

  • The laser can vaporize a thin layer of rock and tell from the color of the sparks what the rock is made of.Artists Concept. NASAJPL-Caltech

  • Curiosity will be able to send weather reports from Mars too!Two little booms on the rovers mast (neck) called REMSwill monitor temperature, wind speed and direction. REMS also measures pressure and ultraviolet light.NASAJPL-Caltech

  • Curiositys seven-foot-long arm has tools built into its hand.The hand will reach out and touch Mars, finding out about what the past environment was like. Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Curiosity has three more rock analyzers. Each has a special job.All will determine what the rocks and soils are made of.That data will tell scientists about whether Mars had the right chemistry for possibly supporting microbial life. SAM: Identifies Organics, the Chemical Building Blocks of LifeCHEMIN: Identifies Minerals,including those formed in waterAPXS: IdentifiesChemical Elements in RocksOn HandIn BodyIn Body

  • On its hand, Curiosity has a hand lens called MAHLI(a magnifying glass) for studying soil grains. It can take photos of rocks far away too, and carries its own lighting to take photos at night. NASAJPL-Caltech/MSSS

  • Curiosity also carries two radiation detectors.DAN will help scientists detect any water below the surface, whether in the soil or bound inside minerals.RAD will help scientists understand the Martian radiation environment to prepare for human exploration someday.NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • To power these instruments, Curiosity uses electricity provided by a battery that is continuously recharged by heat from the natural radioactive decay of plutonium-238.It will take about 110 watts of electricity to run the rover and its instruments.NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • To fit all these tools on the rover, the team had to supersize everything, from the capsule that holds the rover, to the parachute that slows it down before landing. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • To get to Mars, Curiosity will travel tucked safely inside a protective shell. NASAJPL-Caltech

  • The trip will take over eight months.

    The rover will travel about 354 million miles (570 million kilometers). Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • The spacecraft enters the Martian atmosphere 78 miles above the planet. The rover will take approximately seven minutes to reach the ground.

    Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

    The spacecraft can steer its way through the turbulent atmosphere so it can land more accurately.

  • The friction of the atmosphere slows the spacecraft from 13,000 mph to about 900 mph.

    Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

    The heat shield may reach 3,800 degrees Fahrenheit!

  • A supersonic parachute slows the spacecraft from about 900 mph to 180 mph, the speed of a Formula One race car.Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • While slowing down using the parachute, the heat shield is popped off, exposing the rover to the Martian atmosphere.The rovers descent camera begins taking a movie of the remaining five-mile flight to the ground.Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • The engines on the descent stage roar to life and fly the rover down the last mile to the surface.Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

    As it descends, the rover uses radar to measure its speed and altitude, which it uses to land safely.

  • The hovering descent stage lowers the rover on three nylon ropes called bridle. Coiled electronics and communications cables also unspool from the descent stage. This configuration is known as the Sky Crane.Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • By the time Curiosity touches down, the rover is going about two miles per hour. Less than seven minutes before, it was traveling at 13,000 miles per hour! Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • When the sky crane senses that Curiosity has touched down, the cables are cut. The sky crane flies a safe distance away from the rover before crash-landing. Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • For the first time, a Mars rover will land with wheels touching down first, instead of airbags. Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Curiosity will start exploring Mars after raising its head and doing a self-check to make sure all systems are go.Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Driving could take several days to a few weeks after landing.

  • Curiosity will tell us about what it finds through the Deep Space Network.

    Three centers with large communications antennas receive the signals:

    in California,


    and Australia. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Curiosity will send data back to Earths Deep Space Networkthrough Mars orbiters.Artists Concept. NASAJPL-Caltech

    Mars Reconnaissance OrbiterMars Odyssey Orbiter

  • It takes about 5 to 20 minutes for a signal to travel between Earth and Mars, depending on where the planets are in their orbits.

    Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Curiositys schedule will vary based on what she finds. She may take pictures one day, use her laser the next, drill into a rock for a sample, or simply drive to a new place. Artists Concept. NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • Curiosity is expected to work for one Martian year, or about two Earth years.Artists Concept. NASAJ/PL-Caltech

    Dont miss the adventure on Mars, beginning August 2012!

  • Follow Curiosity!Mission

    Twitter: @MarsCuriosity

    Be A Martian!****Non false colorSol278B_P2440_L257.jpg*******

    17 cameras: 12 engineering, 2 MastCam, MAHLI, MARDI, ChemCam


    ******* and




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