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2012-08-09
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Curiosity Lands on Mars

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Tagged As: Mars, NASA, Science, Space, and Technology

No doubt you already know 'merica has conquered Mars once again. NASA's Curiosity rover touched down in a dramatic sky crane landing a few days ago. Instead of bouncing across the landscape in a giant beachball like the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, Curiosity plunged through the atmosphere on a parachute whereupon it's rocket backpack fired before impact allowing it to be lowered to Mars on a rappelling tether. That's super bad ass NASA ... fist bump. Prior to conducting any science, the vehicle is performing integrity checks which included more or less holding an iPhone up to a mirror and taking a picture of its butt. The images were created when the mast instrument checks were performed with the panoramic cameras providing a view of both Curiosity and the surrounding scorch marks from the landing rockets. Curiosity is expected to run for at least two years and packs 15 times as many instruments as its predecessors into its car sized frame.

Seriously though, NASA has a 61 page pdf detailing the science, math and technology behind their landing and a dedicated Mars Science Laboratory website to keep up to date on Curiosity.

Oddly enough, Curiosity unveiled yet another element of pure stupidity with its human masters. NASA obviously released a number of videos including feeds and interviews into the public domain. These were in turn snarfed up by news media outlets that then claimed content ownership for their broadcasts. This caused the automatic DMCA screening features in YouTube to inform NASA they did not have the rights to their own videos and to take them down. Face-palm.



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