A rover roving around the surface of the planet Mars seems nothing new to us now. Sojourner deployed in 1997 – but it had a mass of only 25lbs. Twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity both arrived in 2004 via bouncy ball deployment – a novel concept at the time for machines that had a mass just above 400lbs. But how to deposit a 1,982lb rover with lots of sensitive equipment required more outside-the-box thinking than even the bouncy ball technique would resolve. The “skycrane maneuver” used to deploy rover Curiosity on the Martian surface is still a bewildering feat of multiple stages of engineering and communication. If you haven’t seen it before here’s the JPL video that shows how this is done:
Curiosity has returned many images of the surface of the planet and made many interesting discoveries along the way:
Mars may be named for the god of war, but these weird things aren't cannonballs. They're pebbles.
The round 5mm concretion I found (L) contains calcium sulfate, sodium + magnesium, making it different from the hematite-rich "blueberries" (R) @MarsRovers Opportunity found. Cool! pic.twitter.com/BDWwrOv02l
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) December 5, 2017
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) November 1, 2017
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) June 1, 2017
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) November 2, 2016
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) September 9, 2016
Always look both ways before crossing the crater. Recent Mastcam images show the northern rim of Gale Crater, Mars. pic.twitter.com/fRhGj0k7LF
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) November 6, 2015
Simply amazing. Thank you science.
And yes, ‘bots are capable of selfies too:
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) January 24, 2018