Artisitc impression of Curiosity's descent on Mars. Image credit: NASA
What is happening with Curiosity now?
According to NASA's latest statues report: "Curiosity remains in good health with all systems operating as expected.
Today, the flight team uplinked and confirmed commands to make minor corrections to the spacecraft's navigation reference point parameters.
This afternoon, as part of the onboard sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing, catalyst bed heaters are being turned on to prepare the
eight Mars Lander Engines that are part of MSL's descent propulsion system."
Where will Curiosity land?
Destination target is Gale Crater.
Gale Crater on Mars. Image credit: NASA
The target lading area is the ellipse marked on this image of Gale Crater. The ellipse is about 12 miles long and 4 miles wide (20 kilometers by 7 kilometers).
Galre Crater. Image credit: NASA
Gale Crater is 154 km wide and is located at latitude 5.4 degrees south and longitude 137.9 degrees east
If landing goes well, the mission's rover, Curiosity, will drive in subsequent months to science destinations on Mount Sharp, outside of the landing ellipse.
Image credit: NASA
Oblique view of Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater, with the original and revised landing ellipses marked.
What kind of cameras is Curiosity equipped with?
This graphic shows the locations of the cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover. The rover's mast features seven cameras: the Remote Micro Imager,
part of the Chemistry and Camera suite; four black-and-white Navigation Cameras (two on the left and two on the right) and two color
Mast Cameras (Mastcams). The left Mastcam has a 34-millimeter lens and the right Mastcam has a 100-millimeter lens.
There is one camera on the end of a robotic arm that is stowed in this graphic; it is called the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI).
There are nine cameras hard-mounted to the rover: two pairs of black-and-white Hazard Avoidance Cameras in the front, another two pair
mounted to the rear of the rover, (dashed arrows in the graphic) and the color Mars Descent Imager (MARDI).
Why does NASA call the landing Seven Minutes of Terror?
The Curiosity landing is the hardest NASA mission ever attempted in the history of robotic planetary exploration.
During a critical period lasting only about seven minutes, the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft carrying Curiosity must decelerate from
about 13,200 mph (about 5,900 meters per second) to allow the rover to land on the surface at about 1.7 mph (three-fourths of a meter per second).
"Those seven minutes are the most challenging part of this entire mission," said Pete Theisinger, the mission's project manager at JPL.
"For the landing to succeed, hundreds of events will need to go right, many with split-second timing and all controlled autonomously by the
spacecraft. We've done all we can think of to succeed.
We expect to get Curiosity safely onto the ground, but there is no guarantee. The risks are real."
How will we know if Curiosity has landed safely on the surface of Mars?
Will Curiosity find alien life?
Curiosity is not a life detection mission. Unlike previous rovers to Mars, Curiosity is a robot chemist seeking evidence of past habitability on Mars.
Curiosity does not have the ability to detect life if it was there. Instead, Curiosity will look for the ingredients of life
Who Put The Monolith On Phobos?
A satellite of the planet Mars, Phobos, discovered by A.Hall in 1877 still attracts great attention.
"We should visit the moon of Mars. There is a monolith there, a very unusual structure on this little potatoes-shaped object
that goes around Mars," said former astronaut Buzz Aldrin in an interview with C-Span some years ago.
His words confirmed the existence of a mysterious structure on Phobos, one of Mars' two moons.
Shockwaves Could Crinkle Space-Time Creating A New Kind Of Singularity
Mathematicians have discovered a new way to crinkle up the fabric of space-time, at least in theory.
"We show that space-time cannot be locally flat at a point where two shock waves collide," said Blake Temple, professor of mathematics at UC Davis.
"This is a new kind of singularity in general relativity."
Extraterrestrial Life Is A Censored Subject Says Famous Professor
It is not often scientists are willing to openly discuss the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
According to a famous astronomy professor there is a reason why a majority of scientists avoid the subject - it is censored!
Even though the general public embraces ideas of extraterrestrial life, science is expected to shun this subject no
matter how strong the evidence, albeit through a conspiracy of silence.
Gullies On Mars Formed By Water
A new study reveals that parts of Mars may have been modified by liquid water in recent geologic times, which might indicate more
favourable conditions for life on the planet.
The surface of Mars displays a diverse landscape, and a new study shows that large areas of the northern hemisphere have undergone
a number of freeze-thaw cycles.
Alien Message Can Be Hidden In Your DNA
Do We All Carry A Cosmic Greeting Card?
While SETI is busy searching for signals from alien civilizations, there are scientists who think we can find proof of advanced
extraterrestrial life much closer to home - namely in our DNA!
Instead of leaving artefacts for humans to find once they are sufficiently evolved, an advanced extraterrestrial civilizations
might instead incorporate information into the human genome, allowing it to be copied and maintained over immense periods of time.