|Conceptual Sketch of Curiosity compliments of NASA http://www.nasa.gov|
The latest Mars Science Laboratory project has officially kicked off. The rover, codenamed Curiosity, landed in the early hours of August 6th. (2232 5 AUG 12 Pacific time, 0032 6 AUG 12 Central, 0132 Eastern) Within two hours, the rover began sending images from the Mars surface. Over the duration of the mission, you will be able to track images and progress at the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission pages at NASA's website.
|Image of Gale Crater compliments of NASA|
Curiosity is set to explore, record, image, and sample the planet's surface for the next 98 weeks. Its capabilities include 10 precision scientific instruments and 17 total cameras: Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer, Chemistry and Camera, Chemistry and Mineralogy, Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons, Mars Descent Imager, Mars Hand Lens Imager, Mast Camera, Radiation Assessment Detector, Rover Environmental Monitoring Station, and Sample Analysis at Mars Launch.
98 weeks is also the length of a single Martian year. The mission is set to last just 6 weeks short of two Earth years. That is one week less than current federal laws grant unemployment handouts to those who lost their jobs.
|Sky Crane and Curiosity Infographic compliments of NASA|
The cost of the project, so far, has been $2.5 Billion, $1.8 for just the development and deployment of the spacecraft.
More facts, figures, numbers, data, and mission information is available in .pdf format.
Here is NASA's official video of the landing and deployment: