Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Curiosity Over

The blog I chose to comment and write on was this post about Curiosity. The Mars rover conducted a series of complex soil samples that allow it to determine if Mars could have ever supported microbial life. The most amazing thing about this specific rover is the number of scientific instruments on it compared to past rovers. The scientific instrument payload on Spirit and Opportunity were about 20lbs compared to Curiosity’s 140lbs.While overall, Curiosity weighed in at 2000lbs to their 400lbs. 

Obviously with a much larger machine, ensuring a safe landing is a far more difficult task. This video from NASA explains the landing process. Basically the pod had to go through the atmosphere, deploy a parachute, sense it’s distance from the ground,begin descending the rover via a sky crane, deposit the rover, and jettison itself to a safe distance. All while NASA had no contact with the machine during the “Seven minutes of Terror” after it entered the atmosphere. 

With the death of Neil Armstrong and the discontinuation of the space shuttle, NASA has been falling on tough times. The Space Race is over and the government does not seem to understand the importance of NASA to the scientific community. The success of the Curiosity rover was a victory for the future of US space exploration. So it is not wonder that they are excited. The amazing HD photos and video OF ITS OWN DESCENT! Will hopefully re-spark the nation’s interest in space exploration. And lets not forget one of the most important things to gain from this mission: Since NASA successfully landed a rover the size of a small SUV on Mars, maybe someday they can fit a few people in there as well. 


5 responses to “Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Curiosity Over

  1. Isn’t the Curiosity rover amazing? The fact that NASA was able to do this on such a limited budget truly speaks to the power that imagination, intelligence, and curiosity can have on a project. If people want something to get done, they find a way. However, I feel that this success can be a double-edged sword. Because NASA was able to accomplish this on a limited budget, will the government cut their funding in the future, making them reach the lower bound of their abilities? or will funding be increased? Unfortunately, only time will tell.

    • I hate to say it, but that is a very legitimate point. NASA producing such great results on the current budget may be interpreted as validation of it. It just doesn’t make sense to me that NASA’s budget is on 0.48% of the federal budget! That is the lowest it has been since NASA’s inception, this is unforgivable. NASA needs to have more vocal supporters, I had hoped that Curiosity’s success would spark the public’s interest, but I still talk to people who haven’t heard about it. Spending money on NASA is a positive input, their cutting edge technology always finds a way to improve our daily lives. Tempurpedic, cordless tools, and long distance telecommunications just to name a few. I don’t see any downside to investing in NASA, it is an investment in our future.

  2. I remember reading articles about this and was completely amazed. The fact that we are gaining all of this knowledge and amazing footage of Mars is spectacular. I’m right there with you in thinking that the United States needs to increase their interest in space exploration. The “Space Race” is far from over. The US needs to continue to be a leader in space exploration and the government needs to be on the same page. There’s no telling what this information from mars could do for us in the future. Like you said…the possibility of getting humans on Mars is looking better and better each day.

    • I would like to think that the Space Race isn’t over, but I may have to disagree with that. The Space Race was much more about sending a message to the Soviet Union during the cold war, than the exploration of knowledge. Since we made it to the moon first NASA’s budget as a % of the federal budget has been mostly decreasing. With that kind of budget, we are far off from the technology needed to colonize another planet. It may be something we do in the very distant future, but it is an inevitability.

  3. Unbelievable landing video with the expert commentary. The Curiosity looks like something out of a Star Wars or James Bond movie… I am thrilled that NASA was able to turn this landing into a reality! Hopefully data collected by the rover will spark enough interest to increase the NASA budget or at least prevent it from being significantly cut further. With all of the talent they have there is no telling what’s next. The organization has given America a lot more than just Tempur-Pedic mattress technology!

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