Thursday, August 2, 2012

Getting Ready for Mars

The Curiosity rover has spent the last 8 months traveling through the vast wasteland of space in anticipation of the seven minutes of terror this weekend.  So Curiosity (aka the Mars Science Lab or MSL) has travelled 354 million miles at 13,000 miles over the last 8 months.  What have you done?  Huh?  Feeling a little left behind by this robotic wonder?  No worries, we here at Digital Diner can't send you to Mars, but we can help you keep up on the latest events so that you don't feel too far out of the loop.  Tomorrow (Aug 3) NASA will have a live session at Johnson Space Center that you can tune in to. It may be a good place to start.

Lets start by boning up on Mars and why this mission is headed there in the first place.  The rover's mission objectives include studying Mars' habitability, studying the Martian climate and geology, and collecting data for a potential future manned mission to Mars.  Some of the chemistry experiments are quite interesting (see the video below).

The mission is headed to a place called Gale Crater, next to Mount Sharp, a mountain that rises 3 miles into the martian sky.  

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