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Mars Rover/Mission Thread: Following Our Curiosity

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I came into this thread expecting something along the lines of a country-wide internet blackout <_<

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I came into this thread expecting something along the lines of a country-wide internet blackout <_<

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Exciting news. Wonder what we'll find now

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Exciting news. Wonder what we'll find now

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I wish we put more of our resource's into endeavours such as this .

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Curiosity's a good name for this Rover. I like it. Godspeed.

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Aust to play key role in Mars landing

Wednesday, August 01, 2012 » 03:12pm

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Australia will play a key role in the historic Mars landing by NASA rover next week, due to land on Monday

Australia will play a key role in the historic Mars landing by a NASA rover next week.

The vehicle named Curiosity - a mobile laboratory about the size of a Mini Cooper carrying the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on Mars - is due to land on the red planet about 3.30pm (AEST) on Monday.

The Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla near Canberra will receive signals from the rover, backed up by the Parkes telescope and WA's New Norcia tracking station.

Managed by the CSIRO, the Tidbinbilla complex is one of three tracking stations across the globe in NASA's Deep Space Network, including facilities in Madrid, Spain and Goldstone, California.

'We have been the communications point throughout the mission and the first station to communicate with the spacecraft after launch and once it got into space on November 27 last year,' complex spokesman Glen Nagle told AAP on Wednesday.

'And we are communicating with it on its landing.

'Because Mars is in our view, Canberra is right time right place' so we will do all the coverage, using Parkes and New Norcia as spare ears.'

The rover will spend 23 months in the Gale crater, named after Sydney banker and amateur astronomer Walter Frederick Gale who studied the Mars surface in the late 1800s and believed the planet could support life.

Australian scientist Marion Anderson from Monash University helped NASA select the site for the landing.

Another scientist, Dr Penny King from Australian National University, will control instruments on the rover from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California to determine the chemistry of the Martian surface.

Curiosity, which cost around $2.6 billion to develop and launch, will travel about 20km over rough terrain searching for clues to the existence of past life.

Unlike its predecessors Spirit and Opportunity, it has equipment to gather, process and distribute samples of rock and soil to onboard testing instruments.

Cameras mounted on a mast will allow the mission team to determine exploration targets and driving routes.

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Hopefully proof of life.

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What are we - chopped liver? :)

That's a cool piece of technology - expensive, but cool none the less.

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What are we - chopped liver? :)

That's a cool piece of technology - expensive, but cool none the less.

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Oh man, signs of life would be amazing. Even just tiny bacteria or other microscopic organisms would be a huge discovery, one of the largest of all time. Can't wait until the results are released.

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Gonna be watching live from mission control on my xbox360. I'm very excited.

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Gonna be watching live from mission control on my xbox360. I'm very excited.

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Awesome! If I had been at all inclined towards physics, engineering and mathematics, I would have definately loved to have gotten into this type of work!

Too bad I am stuck with genetics <_<

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Awesome! If I had been at all inclined towards physics, engineering and mathematics, I would have definately loved to have gotten into this type of work!

Too bad I am stuck with genetics <_<

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Mars fever: Parties planned across the globe to see if Nasa's Curiosity rover survives 'seven minutes of terror'

  • Rover scheduled to land at 5:31AM (GMT) on Monday morning

  • Scientists say they are 'cautiously optimistic'

  • Times Square will show Nasa coverage, while Google will webcast it

  • Mission will search for signs of life on the red planet's surface using a scoop to dig into the soil

By Mark Prigg

PUBLISHED: 11:21 GMT, 2 August 2012 | UPDATED: 14:26 GMT, 2 August 2012

It is one of the most daring space missions ever attempted.

Early on monday morning the Curiosity rover will, if all goes according to plan, enter the martian atmosphere and begin a series of hugely complex manoeuvres to bring it gently onto the surface.

They include a radical floating 'sky crane' as part of a descent dubbed the 'seven minutes of terror'.

Scroll down for video

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Insatiable Curiosity: The rover captivating the globe in a bid to find life on the red planet

But the plucky rover won't be alone - across the globe, thousands are expected to watch online and on TV as it approaches the red planet.

Nasa has even done a deal to show it in Times Square, while space fans elsewhere are planning parties.

'In the city that never sleeps, the historic Times Square will be the place for New Yorkers to participate in this historic landing,' John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science missions, said.

When you think of all the big news events in history, you think of Times Square, and I can think of no better venue to celebrate this news-making event on Mars.'

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The landing will be shown on the big screen in Times Square

The Curiosity rover has taken the public's imagination by storm, in one of the most daring space missions ever attempted.

The rover, Curiosity, is designed to search for clues about possible past life in a crater that might once have been filled with water.

The £1.59 billion six-wheeled machine is twice as long and five times as heavy as the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity which landed on Mars in 2004.

Two British scientists are members of the team which will direct the rover and analyse the data it collects.

WHERE TO WATCH

The Times Square broadcast begins at 11:30 p.m. EDT Sunday night and runs until 4 a.m. EDT Monday morning (Aug. 6).

The exact time of landing is scheduled for 1:31 a.m. Aug. 6 EDT (0531 GMT), though it will be late Monday night at the rover's California-based mission control room.

Nasa has a full list of US events to watch the landing here.

Dr John Bridges, from the University of Leicester Space Research Centre, one of the British scientists working on the Mars Science Laboratory mission, said: 'I’m cautiously optimistic.

'Space exploration is not for the faint hearted.

'The previous rover landing used inflatable bouncing bags. Curiosity’s just too heavy for that, so they developed the sky crane technique.'

Curiosity’s target is Gale Crater, near the Martian equator, where there are geological signs of past water.

The plan is to land close to Mount Sharp, a 5.5-kilometre peak in the centre of the crater with clay deposits around its base.

If all goes well the radio signal confirming that Curiosity has landed will arrive on Earth after a 14-minute journey through space at 06.31, UK time.

For one Martian year - 98 Earth weeks - Curiosity will explore its surroundings using its robot arm and a formidable array of scientific instruments to analyse samples drilled from rocks or scooped from the ground.

It also carries a laser capable of zapping rocks up to 30 feet away, vaporising tiny amounts of material in a flash of light that can be analysed to reveal chemical data.

As well carrying a stereo camera to take panoramic shots, Curiosity will be equipped with a magnifying imager that can reveal details smaller than the width of a human hair.

Geologist Professor Sanjeev Gupta, from Imperial College London, the other British scientist involved in the mission, said: 'Nasa chose Gale Crater as the landing site because it has a number of really exciting geological features that we are hoping to explore.

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Target: The known as Gale crater area where Nasa's Curiosity rover will land on August 5

'These include a canyon and what appears to be a lake bed on the floor of the crater, as well as a channel and a delta, which we think may have been carved by water.

HOW CURIOSITY WILL LAND

After entering the Martian atmosphere at 13,200mph, the capsule containing Curiosity will be slowed by friction and then a supersonic parachute.

An 'upper stage' resembling a flying bedstead will then be deployed, firing retro rockets to brake its descent.

As it hovers over the landing site, the upper stage will transform itself into a 'sky crane' and lower Curiosity to the surface on the end of a tether.

It will then break away, and deliberately crash.

'We will use the rover’s cameras, including one which is like a powerful magnifying glass, to study the geology up close.'

Dr Bridges and Prof Gupta will be based at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, during the mission.

They will be among hundreds of scientists who will work together round the clock analysing data beamed back from Curiosity, planning experiments and guiding the rover’s excursions.

Dr Bridges said a key goal is to study the clay sediments at the foot of Mount Sharp. Scientists believe they are a reminder of a time, three to four billion years ago, when there was abundant water on the surface of Mars.

'The clay layers may represent what we loosely call a warm and wet period in Martian history,' said Dr Bridges.

'On the top of the mountain the rock was deposited under dry conditions, so there was a great environmental change.

'There’s this idea that Mars was warm and wet long ago, but we don’t know how long there were standing bodies of water on Mars, whether they were short lived or lasted hundreds of millions of years.

'That’s important to the question of whether life ever existed there.

Although we’ve made enormous strides in understanding Mars over the last 10 or 20 years, there’s still a lot we don’t know.'

An Atlas V rocket carrying Curiosity blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in November.

The journey to Mars crossed 352 million miles of space.

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Nasa's Curiosity rover, which is set to land on the red planet of surface - if it survives a descent known as 'seven minutes of terror'

Hey brother, do you notice the name of the name of the mountain it is landing at the base of :)

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I wish we put more of our resource's into endeavours such as this .

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