Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it sure didn’t let down the people up at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who exchanged hugs with one another and let out relieved cries as the rover touched down on Mars without a problem.
I felt like it would be appropriate to dedicate my first entry to Curiosity, Nasa’s one-ton Mars Rover, a day after it touched down on the red planet.
Read more about it here.
It is amazing to see how far humanity has come in terms of learning more and more about Mars. The first mission to Mars was organized by the Soviet Union with Marsnik 1M in 1960 which, unfortunately, failed. And for the next three years after that, the Soviet Union tried again and again with Sputnik 22, Mars 1, Sputnik 24 and Kosmos 21. But like the original, these missions all failed as well.
It was not until the United States sent up Mariner 4 in 1964 (after Mariner 3’s probe died out) that photos of the enigmatic planet were finally taken and learning more about Mars suddenly became a realistic and attainable goal.
With this hope, more missions were made to Mars. Though it only collected 20 seconds of data, Mars 3 was the Soviet Union’s first successful landing on Mars. Mars 5 and 6 were also partial successes. The European Space Agency even entered the race in 2003 with Mars Express/Beagle 2.
And now look where scientists have come. Thanks to the incredibly bright people at the JPL (as well as many, many others who were part of Curiosity’s ten year creation), Curiosity, equipped with tools to capture high-resolution pictures and videos of Mars as well as neato gadgets used to identify different types of minerals on Earth and their abundance, will be making incredible strides in furthering our knowledge of Mars.
For an infographic on Curiosity’s landing, click here.
To see the landing from Curiosity’s perspective, click here.
For behind-the-scene moments from the NASA control room, click here.