Mars Rover Touches Down! NASA rover lands safely on red planet ...

DealMonkey

Lifer
Nov 25, 2001
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Woot! :D In your face Beagle 2!! ;)

NASA rover lands safely on red planet

PASADENA, California (CNN) -- A NASA robotic explorer touched down on Mars, sending a signal home that it survived the risky descent through the Martian atmosphere and bouncing landing.

The $400 million rover Spirit, designed to conduct unprecedented geologic and photographic surveys on the Martian surface, transmitted a simple hello to Earth minutes after landing, which took place just after 11:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

The golf cart-sized Spirit went through what NASA assistant administrator Ed Weiler characterized as "six minutes from hell" -- the time it took to enter the Martian atmosphere, descend and land in Gusev Crater.

During the descent, Spirit deployed parachutes and fired retrorockets to decelerate. Seconds before impact, it inflated a protective cocoon of airbags.

A series of bounces and rolls may have sent the robot up to four stories high and more than a mile from its landing spot, according to mission control scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

"It sounds like a crazy way to land on Mars, but it's actually tried and tested," said Steven Squyres, a Cornell University geologist in charge of the scientific instruments on Spirit and its identical twin, Opportunity, which will complete the 300 million-mile trip to Mars in the next three weeks.

Spirit launched June 10 and Opportunity took off July 7.

The airbag bounce method worked well with Pathfinder, NASA's last success on Martian soil.

The 1997 mission included a lander, which beamed back thousands of images, and Sojourner, a toy-sized test rover that scurried around the rocks and boulders littering the landing site.

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Gaard

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
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They said on the news that it should start to send pics back within 24 hours.

:beer:
 
Feb 24, 2001
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The golf cart-sized Spirit
Holy cow, I had no idea it was that large. Was thinking more along the lines of the Sojourner in size. That's crazy. The EDL video that NASA had for download was pretty incredible. Amazing that the idea actually works.
 

Gaard

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
8,911
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Crap. All this time I thought the planet was red. It's really grey? ;)



Those pics are cool. Actually, the fact that we can get live pics of Mars is cool! :)
 

maluckey

Platinum Member
Jan 31, 2003
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I remember the first exploration of Mars back in the late Seventies. This makes me feel like a kid again!
 

MovingTarget

Diamond Member
Jun 22, 2003
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I am rather excited about this. Mars can be a difficult place to get to, much less explore. This is truly great news for the space community, but lets not forget, we have another one due within the month. No doubt we will be learning a lot over the next year or so about this planet.
 

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