Curiosity Lands on Mars, What Now?
What does this latest scientific adventure mean for us here back on earth?
August 7, 2012
Ithaca (WENY) - Right now the newest Mars rover Curiosity is sitting on the surface of the red planet a mission that took $2.5 billion and years of planning and work, but what does this latest scientific adventure mean for us here back on earth? Curiosity is a mobile science lab and with it we can learn about the Mars' past, present and future. The difference between Curiosity and other rovers on Mars, like Spirit and Opportunity, is Curiosity can do a lot more. Shoshanna Cole a PHD candidate, does research for NASA. She says Curiosity is an incredible accomplishment because it can do so much.
“This Is going to be a whole new revolution because these instruments that it has, it has so many instruments and they're so sensitive and it can tell us so much more than what we learned from Spirit and Opportunity which was amazing.”
Curiosity can take and analyze samples of rock that will tell scientists how the planet evolved. It can look at current weather conditions, and even read radiation levels, which is important for human exploration.
“To look to see if once upon a time microbes might have been able to develop on Mars and live there,” says Cole.
Jonathan Lunine an Astronomy Professor has worked on a few Mars Projects. He says Curiosity is actually the size of a small SUV and literally weighs a ton, so landing it without damaging it was really difficult.\
“There's no pilot on board so to be able to do that, to navigate in the upper atmosphere to then be able to land a one ton vehicle vehicle with just a tiny little velocity at the end was just remarkable accomplishment.”
One of the next steps in Mars exploration would be to bring rocks back home, but for now scientists are just happy with HD Photos.