Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Animation
This 11-minute animation depicts key events of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission, which will launch in late 2011 and land a rover, Curiosity, on Mars in August 2012.
Nice little animation of Curiosity. Hopefully, Curiosity will perform as well as Spirit and Opportunity, which have been on Mars since 2003. Spirit became stuck in the sand in 2009 and was re-tasked as a stationary science platform. Sadly, in March 2010, we completely lost contact. Meanwhile, Opportunity continues to chug along. We got a lot of bang for our buck on those pups. They’ve had like… four mission extensions. Incredible.
Oh hey, look, dune buggy tracks across the desert sand… on another planet! Good ol’ Opportunity leaves its imprint on the surface of Mars.
Looking Back Across Mars
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA
Explanation: It’s been a long trip for the Martian rover Opportunity. Last week Opportunity surpassed Viking 1 as the longest running mission on Mars, now extending well over six years. Pictured above, Opportunity’s tire tracks cross a nearly featureless Martian desert, emanating from a distant horizon. Landing in 2004 in Meridiani Planum, the robotic Opportunity has embarked on its longest and most dangerous trek yet, now aiming to reach large Endeavor Crater sometime next year. Endeavor, it is hoped, holds new clues to the ancient geology of Mars and whether Mars could once have harbored life.
I don’t care how old or popular this image has become, it’s incredibly beautiful.