Thursday, December 1, 2011

Curious about Curiosity – Exploring Mars

Curiosity is really the Christmas gift of the year for America’s scientists.

NASA will launch a new 7-foot-tall, 2000 pound rover to look for habitable environments on Mars.  The rover will land in Gale Crater, where it's believed water existed more than 3 billion years ago.  Now how in the world is SKWOOSH going to weave its products into this amazing scientific undertaking and adventure? There’s no pilot aboard so no need for a gel Pilot’s seat.  They’re looking for signs of water so no need for a gel fishing seat and all the spectators are on earth so who needs a gel bleacher seat or travel cushion.  With ten remote controlled instruments on board, Curiosity will survey its surroundings, take detailed pictures and analyze samples of rocks, soil and atmosphere.  Curiosity will land on Mars in August, spend a full Martian year there (98 weeks) and transmit tons of data back to earth.  What an achievement. Here are a few facts about Curiosity:

It has six 20 inch cleated wheels, each independently steers so the rover can turn 360 degrees in place. It will roll over 25 inch high objects.

It's nuclear battery powers it's instruments, allows it to travel about 660 feet per day and keeps Curiosity warm during the cold Martian nights.

The laser cameras vaporize rocks to identify chemical elements they contain.

Two camera systems study the landscape, track weather conditions and aid in driving operations.

At the end of the rovers robotic arm is a turret that can dust off rock surfaces and collect and sort samples.  There is a camera for close-up photos and a spectrometer to determine the different elements in the samples.

Now I ask you, how can water sports enthusiasts complain about complicated rigging systems for fishing kayaks?

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