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NASA Curiosity corsair sends behind 1st tone picture

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — NASA‘s Curiosity corsair has transmitted a initial color photo and a low-resolution video display a final 2 1/2 mins of a white-knuckle dive by a Martian atmosphere, giving earthlings a hide look of a spacecraft landing on another world.

As thumbnails of a video flashed on a large shade on Monday, scientists and engineers during a NASA Jet Propulsion let out “oohs” and “aahs.” The recording began with a protecting feverishness defense descending divided and finished with dirt being kicked adult as a corsair was lowered by cables inside an ancient crater.

It was a hide preview, given it’ll take some time before full-resolution frames are beamed behind depending on other priorities.

The full video “will only be exquisite,” pronounced Michael Malin, a arch scientist of a instrument.

The tone print from a ancient void where Curiosity landed showed a pebbly landscape and a edge of Gale Crater off in a distance. Curiosity snapped a print on a initial day on a aspect after touching down on Mars Sunday night.

The corsair took a shot with a camera during a finish of a robotic arm, that remained stowed. The landscape looked hairy since a camera’s removable cover was coated with dirt that kicked adult during a skirmish to a ground.

NASA distinguished a pointing alighting of a corsair on Mars and marveled over a mission’s flurry of photographs — grainy, black-and-white images of Martian gravel, a towering during nightfall and, many sparkling of all, a spacecraft‘s white-knuckle thrust by a red planet’s atmosphere.

Curiosity, a sailing laboratory a distance of a compress car, landed right on aim late Sunday after an eight-month, 352-million-mile journey. It parked a 6 wheels about 4 miles from a ultimate scholarship finish — Mount Sharp, rising from a building of Gale Crater nearby a equator.

Extraordinary efforts were indispensable for a alighting since a corsair weighs one ton, and a skinny Martian atmosphere offers small attrition to delayed down a spacecraft. Curiosity had to go from 13,000 mph to 0 in 7 minutes, unfurling a parachute, afterwards banishment rockets to brake. In a Hollywood-style finish, cables smoothly lowered it to a belligerent during 2 mph.

At a finish of what NASA called “seven mins of terror,” a car staid into place roughly ideally prosaic in a void it was aiming for.

“We have finished one proviso of a goal many to a enjoyment,” goal manager Mike Watkins said. “But another partial has only begun.”

The nuclear-powered Curiosity will puncture into a Martian aspect to investigate what’s there and hunt for some of a molecular building blocks of life, including carbon.

It won’t start relocating for a integrate of weeks, since all a systems on a $2.5 billion corsair have to be checked out. Color photos and panoramas will start entrance in a subsequent few days.

But initial NASA had to use little cameras designed to mark hazards in front of Curiosity’s wheels. So early images of sand and shadows abounded. The cinema were fuzzy, though scientists were delighted.

The photos uncover “a new Mars we have never seen before,” Watkins said. “So each one of those cinema is a many pleasing pattern we have ever seen.”

In one of a photos from a close-to-the-ground jeopardy cameras, if we squinted and looked a right way, we could see “a conformation of Mount Sharp in a environment sun,” pronounced an vehement John Grotzinger, arch goal scientist from a California Institute of Technology.

A high-resolution camera on a orbiting 7-year-old Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, drifting 211 miles directly above a plummeting Curiosity, snapped a print of a corsair swinging from a parachute about a notation from touchdown. The parachute’s pattern can be done out in a photo.

“It’s only mind-boggling to me,” pronounced Miguel San Martin, arch operative for a alighting team.

Curiosity is a heaviest square of machine NASA has landed on Mars, and a success gave a space group certainty that it can unpack apparatus that astronauts might need in a destiny manned outing to a red planet.

The alighting technique was hatched in 1999 in a arise of harmful back-to-back Mars booster losses. Back then, engineers had no idea how to land super-heavy spacecraft. They brainstormed opposite possibilities, consulting Apollo-era engineers and pilots of heavy-lift helicopters.

“I consider a engineering during a finest. What engineers do is they make a unfit possible,” pronounced former NASA arch technologist Bobby Braun. “This thing is elegant. People contend it looks crazy. Each complement was designed for a really specific function.”

Because of bill constraints, NASA canceled a corner U.S.-European missions to Mars, scheduled for 2016 and 2018.

“When’s a subsequent lander on Mars? The answer to that is nobody knows,” Bolden pronounced in a new talk with The Associated Press.

But if Curiosity finds something interesting, he said, it could coax a open and Congress to yield some-more income for some-more Martian exploration. No matter what, he said, Curiosity’s goal will assistance NASA as it tries to send astronauts to Mars by a mid-2030s.


Borenstein reported from Washington.


Follow Alicia Chang’s Mars coverage at: http://www.twitter.com/SciWriAlicia


Video: http://bit.ly/MqyzGn

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