Curiosity rover (Mars Science Laboratory, NASA) has successfully landed on Gale crater, Mars, on Monday August 6, 5:31 TU (Sunday August 5, 22:31 PDT). The rover is carrying the most advanced geology and geochemistry laboratory which has been ever sent to another planetary body. This includes cool instrumentation to carry out X-ray diffraction / fluorescence, isotopic and chemical compositional measurements, color imaging and video, remote micro-imaging, meteorological and radiation measurements, etc.
The landing area, Gale crater, has a 5 Km high mountain with layered materials containing clay minerals in the bottom and sulfur and oxygen-bearing minerals depending on height. Curiosity aims to land on a flat area of the crater and drive upward to study the geological history of the region, layer by layer, studying sediments formed in wetter environments during the early history of Mars. Docens of samples will be taken from the ground to conduct an in-depth investigation of Mars’ past or present ability to sustain microbial life. It will be a 2-year amazing mission.
The landing has been the most complicated and riskiest in the history of planetary exploration. Have a look at this 5 minute video produced by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA) showing the landing procedure.
Below you will find some links to know more about this mission and to follow the events:
General information and main websites of the mission:
- Mars Exploration Program (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
- Curiosity website at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Curiosity website at NASA
Watching the news about Curiosity in real time:
- NEW! - Video of the landing at JPL ; Reception of the first images.
- NEW! – Video taken by MARDI showing the descent of Curiosity (low resolution).
- Times of landing, press conferences (pre- and post-landing)
- Detailed Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) timeline.
There are different websites which will stream all events from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The best ones are:
- All the RAW images taken by Curiosity
- NASA multimedia of Curiosity
- NASA Photojournal.
- NEW! - HiRISE (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) image of Curiosity capsule descending through the martian atmosphere.
More information about the landing procedure, science instruments, etc:
- Mission press-kit
- MSL Science Corner (science instruments)
- Science instruments (papers published in The Space Review, Springer)
Landing site: Gale crater. Papers and selection of site.
- Proposed landing sites (including Gale crater)
- Selection of the landing site
- Geological maps and characterization of Gale crater
Images of the landing site:
- Landing elipse
- HiRise images of Gale Crater
- Digital Terrain Models (including Gale Crater)
- More links to HiRise images of Gale Crater
Entry, descent and landing:
- Mars Science Laboratory. Entry, Descent, and Landing System Overview
- Mars Science Laboratory Telecommunications System Design
Curiosity and social media: