Sol 669 is here (well, there… on Mars that is…) and that marks the one full year anniversary of Curiosity’s mission exploring Gale Crater! Wait, you say, didn’t Curiosity land on Mars in August of 2012? Shouldn’t we still be approaching the TWO-year anniversary of the MSL mission? Well, yes, here on Earth, but on Mars a year is 1.8808 Earth-years long — that’s 686.9 Earth days to a single Martian year! So from landing day August 5 (August 6 UTC) 2012, 686.9 days Earth days (i.e., one Martian year) later is June 24, 2014 (which it is at the time of this writing, UTC) and thus:
Happy Mars Anniversary, Curiosity!
Apollos 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 all successfully delivered men to the Moon between the summer of ’69 and December 1972, but do you know where on the lunar surface they each landed? This awesome vintage map from NASA points each site out (and is a great lunar atlas as well.)
With four of the six planned lunar missions completed, this chart has been prepared to show the various areas of the lunar “nearside” to be visited by astronauts representing the NASA Apollo program. Apollo’s 11, 12, 14 and 15 are shown at their respective landing points. Apollo 16 and Apollo 17, planned for later this year at Descartes and Taurus Littrow, respectively, also are depicted on the map.
The map was created in March 1972, prior to the launches of Apollo 16 and 17.
All I can think is how good it would look printed large and mounted on the wall of my office. Yes…yes…. very good indeed.
Note: Reposted/updated article from 2012.
“That’s one small step for a man… one giant leap for mankind.”
I’m not sure what else need be said about the significance of what happened on this day in 1969, 44 years ago… it was a shining moment in human history, and will be — should be — remembered forever as an example of what people can achieve when challenged, driven and inspired.
Maybe more giant leaps have been made since then, and undoubtedly more will be made in the future, but this was the first… and to this date, still very much the biggest.
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This is awesome! The full-resolution images taken by Curiosity’s Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) instrument have been downloaded and assembled into a high-def video of the rover’s descent and landing on Mars. From the heat shield falling away to the final, dust-blown touchdown in Gale Crater via sky crane, we finally get a good look at what Curiosity saw when it landed on Mars at 10:31 p.m. PDT on August 5, 2012. Enjoy!
(Can’t see the video above? Click here.)
Ride along with Curiosity as it descends to the surface of Mars in this 4 fps video taken by the rover’s Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) camera! These images are low-resolution, the full-res versions will be available at a later date. But still the view during the rover’s harrowing descent, showing the heat shield falling away and eventually the surface rising up with dust blowing around, is an amazing and wonderful thing to watch — especially that we now know that Curiosity is performing perfectly!
This mission just never ceases to amaze…
The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity successfully landed on Mars on August 5 (PDT), to the thrill of millions around the world who watched in tense amazement as the harrowing landing sequence played out step-by-step exactly as designed, showing that we can safely place a 2-ton nuclear-powered vehicle on the surface of another planet and get photos back within minutes! The images above are the first pics from Curiosity, downlinked literally within minutes of landing. Congratulations to the MSL team at JPL and from all the science instrument teams around the world whose hard work made this happen. Go Curiosity, go NASA!
See the latest images returned from Curiosity here.
UPDATE: Here’s a clearer hazcam image from Curiosity showing the central peak of Gale crater, named “Mt. Sharp”, 6.5 km in the distance. I recolored it to look more “Marsy”, so it’s sorta kinda the type of view we might see once the rover’s Mastcam unfolds and begins taking REAL pics!
UPDATE 2: Here’s a REAL color image, the first one taken by Curiosity! It shows Gale crater’s rim in the distance… beyond a dusty lens cover. The image has been placed into context against a computer model of the terrain. More to come!
See more articles on Curiosity’s status here.
At 10:31 p.m. PDT tonight, August 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6), after nearly 9 months of travel, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (and a rover named Curiosity) will arrive at the Red Planet to explore the interior of Gale Crater and hunt for the ingredients of life. Of course, between arriving and hunting, there has to be a landing… and that’s where things are going to get a little wild.