Curiosity is on its 37th Martian day, and it's almost ready to head out on its first scientific expedition.
The 2,000-pound wonder-rover is about to complete its (or "her," if you're fond of spacecraft) final day of checkouts.
Scientists have been testing many of the instruments and components of the rover and updating software. Curiosity has performed "almost flawlessly" in all aspects, Jennifer Trosper, Curiosity's mission manager, said at a news briefing Wednesday hosted by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
More on the Mars rover mission
"Starting on Friday evening, the plan is to drive, drive, drive," Trosper said. The rover will stop when Curiosity finds a rock that scientists deem appropriate for conducting contact science observations.
Meet a Mars rover driver
But first, on Wednesday, the rover will point a camera at the sun to capture the transit of the Martian moon Phobos.
Mission specialists also revealed a few more fun facts about the rover:
• What's up with the holes in the wheels? "That’s Morse code for 'JPL,' and it makes that imprint on the ground," said Joy Crisp, a deputy project scientist with the mission.
But that's for more than vanity: NASA scientists know what the exact spacing between those marks should be, so if there's wheel slippage, the distance between the marks will be different.
• Curiosity has a 1909 penny on board that the MAHLI camera recently photographed for the purposes of calibration. Abraham Lincoln was first featured on the American one-cent coin in 1909. Grains of Martian sand are visible on the penny.
• Mars rover scientists are living on Mars time; a day on Mars is about 40 minutes longer than on Earth. But by the rover's 90th day on Mars, the transition back to seven-day Earth time can begin, Trosper said.
They'll probably still need to cover all hours except from midnight to 5 a.m.; shifts will need to be adjusted accordingly, depending on when the data come down, Trosper said.
"Probably a few months after that, we'll get to the point where we don't have to adjust the shifts every day, because we'll get much more efficient in our ability to build the commands and look at the data and do the assessment."
Curiosity will be headed for Glenelg, a site that has three types of terrain, including layered bedrock. This could be a good place for Curiosity to drill.
Then the rover will go to Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-high mountain formed from rock layers that built up over time. Curiosity will climb part of this mountain, testing the different layers. The goal is to look for signs that life could have once existed on the Red Planet.
What we've done on Mars, and what's next
to flawlessly picture(less....did you miss the stunning hi resolution shots of this rover taken by the Mars Global surveyor?? You'll get your pics....be patient.
I've really enjoyed following this mission. I'm looking forward to a mission where samples of surface material and atmosphere are taken and sent back here to ISS.
This is great news. Too bad Mars Rover News is not the main topic being covered at present on the T.V. The World
has benefited from NASA in so many ways thoughout the years to number. Too bad NASA hasn't had the funds
to toot their horn about the good its does. People's memories are as long as the last media clip on any given topic.
It is performing flawlessly because it is not on Mars. Never was, never will be. It is all a hoax to drain billions of dollars from taxpayers to pork projects.
Thank you for informing us, o informed one.
You stink of troll.
So the Earth is still flat, no Global warming and Man walked along side the dinosaurs. We get.
get a life tommy
Anyone other than Tommy wondering why this thing has been on mars for a month and sends next to zero pictures, other than pictures of the wheels? Not sure I agree that it was never sent to mars, but I have been wondering if it is actually working if it did in fact arrive on mars. When the first rover arrived years ago it was driving around and showing some great photos the same week. Been a month and basically nothing from Curiosity. Seems everyone is easily convinced of a great landing with little proof thus far.
Someone has been "porking" something but I don't think it is NASA somehow.
Well I'm not going there until they find some shade.
Just don't let Wolowitz drive it!
Amazing!!! Billions of tax dollars spent on Mars explorations (the rovers, launch vehicles, etc.), the research, the analysis, and yet we still cannot find a way to stop Rachel from Cardmember Services from calling.
Some of our greatest breakthrough discoveries occurred not because they were needed, but because it was possible to find them. Curiosity is a characteristic humans share with many other animals, but their investigation is cursory and limited to edible/not edible or dangerous/not dangerous. We're the only ones who take the next step and ponder, "Hmm, is there anything interesting I can do with this?"
And we're the only ones who went out of our way to "look for trouble". Climbing mountains or crossing bodies of water not by accident or necessity but just to see what was there.
When J.J. Thompson fleshed out the electron, there wasn't any obvious use for it, but try to imagine a world where we just left it there thinking "Boring, just another particle". You Luddites sure wouldn't be able to make these posts.
I don't have any grand theological, philosophical or metaphysical expectations of humans. We may pass into extinction just like all before us, and maybe even our vaunted curiosity will "kill the cat", and in truth, I don't much care, But I salute and thank all the nerds and geeks who make these things possible, it's a fascinating trip through life and you add to the fun and wonder of it all.
we 'heart' your praise, and will politely return to our caves in search of more discoveries. lol...
They say that they are trying to determine if there was once conditions on Mars to sustain life, but the best that they could possibly do is find evidence that there might have been, which is what everyone with one braincell already knows. The whole thing is just an extremely expensive way to show off in my opinion. I'm not impressed by the the pictures either because the whole place just looks like Nevada minus Las Vegas.
Well, good thing their primary mission isn't to impress you!
....and nobody is impressed with you.
Are you actually dumb enough that you don't realize the earth will not be habitable forever? We need another place to go if we don't want to become extinct.
And that's setting aside the knowledge gained that can help us in the here and now, of course. Or did you not realize all the technological and medical advances that came from just the early moon missions, to say nothing of more recent explorations?
Go climb back up a tree.
I enthusiastically agree with my species – being human – being still alive somewhere when the earth
becomes no longer habitable. Therefore NASA will eventually save humanity from itself and we will
exist elsewhere. To be so short sighted as to believe that any planet lasts forever is to ignore science.
You might argue that the sun will not go super nova for millions of years. Perhaps. Yet, you forget a super volcano, a large asteroid, a nuclear war, a famine can are all dire possibilities. Why put all your eggs in one basket? Therefore, every step humanity takes to living off our mother earth is a step toward survival. The universe is big enough for intelligent alien species elsewhere to of already died out or survived as consequence of the realization of all this. I am therefore completely for the progress of NASA and its goals.
This may sound stupid but don't you think that maybe they should have used a different coin to calibrate their cameras? 1909 penny. That might be confusing for some Martian Archeologists that may think the rover landed in 1909. Or for that matter I'm sure that those people that think Armstrong never stepped foot on the moon will now start a new conspiracy about how man actually landed a rover on Mars in 1909 with the help of Ancient Aliens.
It appears that there a few people here who would be quite comfortable with a hunter-gatherer existence. Oh well, we share quite a few gene with flatworms and sometimes they pop into view as a reminder of where we came from.
Regardless of the fact that I think this rover is a complete waste of time beyond the science going into getting it there. There is something about driving a remote controlled vehicle the size of a small car on a planet so far away that makes for a fun read. I'm pretty sure they could send pictures from the sahara on earth and I wouldn't know the difference. Essentially all the same concept, here is our robot in sand, here is our robot moving in the sand, oh look a rock, let's probe it and take a picture. Dang it Billy get out of the picture, they'll know we are faking it, geez we have to reshoot everything again. Here is our robot in sand.......
the only thing that's a waste of time in the data shere is your post. Rethink your value to the rest of us. I think you will be surprised.
It is important.It is better than most things we are doing.It is not a waste if ingenuity if it feeds us knowledge and creates technology for man.
I personally say cut the DoD budget by 10%, and give it all to NASA. These missions keep humanities vision ever expanding, ever growing, ever feeding that thirst for 'the next step'. GO NASA!
All of these are articles and photographs from Curiosity keep my eyes reading and mind wondering. Keep up the great work NASA!
So, explain to me why Americans have to work yet we give Trillions in Foreign aid to 3rd world dictators, AND we have a deficit of... Trillions?
Becaue politicians are corrupt and incompetent. The sooner we get rid of them, the better.
You do get the government you deserve. Politicians are self serving, short sited and can't count money to save their life. Sound like anyone else you know?
You can't insult people and not even spell basic words right. Furthermore, we've been to mars (with rovers) several times. This project cost $3 billion. In the grand scheme of the US economy this is chump change. The reality is the majority of you are incredibly incredibly incredibly stupid. I almost wish I could be as stupid as the people making these comments, wow ignorance of that level must be PURE BLISS.
The planet Mars is usually spelled with a capital M... just thought you'd like to know, since you're so concerned with proper spelling and all.
... and it's "correctly" (adverb), not "right."
So, explain to me why this is relevant and why people like you feel the need to spew your garbage on any available comment board?
FYI: the "debt" is trillionS (around 16 currenty). the "deficit" is 1.something trillion.
2 difference words with 2 different meanings, ya know.
It is nice to know that Morse code is still in use. Once a thriving language for communication all over the world, it fell into less use as the internet came on board, cell phones and satellite communications made communication so much easier. There are still many who use this as a hobby language. 73's and QRT.
Well said from Missouri! Dit Dah Dit!
dah di di dit dah di dah
Scientific exploration!!! exciting time to be living!!!!
"Mars rover scientists are living on Mars time"
Are they being paid on Mars time too? Longer work day and longer work year would be more money.
Most are on salary, and it doesn't matter how many hours they work, the pay is the same.
I would be jumping dunes with this thing by now if I could drive it! Shooting dirty roosters up & stuff! Is it like one of those RC cars that you roll & it flips back upright? & in the one picture I think you can see a GoPro hanging on the side of it!
John. You don't happen to drive a cab, do you?
John, do you by chance drive a cab?
We already know very little intellegent life exists on the CNN web site.
Definitely. They spend billions of dollars not only to find any trace of life, but to collect as much data as possible about the structure of Mars soil. They spend billions because they wanna put some bases on Mars
I want bases on mars. They can spend my tax dollars for exploration all they want. Better that than some stupid "war" on terror, or food stamps for illegal immigrants and lazy Americans who don't choose to work.
Irony: questioning someone else's intelligence when you spell "intelligent" incorrectly.
For the most spectacular view yet from Curiosity, go here:
panoramas DOT dk/mars/curiosity-first-color DOT 360.html
Click on "Go Fullscreen" and then click-and-drag SLOWLY right, left, up and down
You can zoom in and out by clicking on the + and – buttons in the lower right corner
CORRECTION – THE LINK IS:
panoramas DOT dk/mars/curiosity-first-color-360 DOT html
Looks like Sahara.
Then you haven't seen many pics of the sahara...The Sahara has nowhere near the levels of ferrous minerals found on Mars.
This crap is a complete waste of money.
Cab Driver, you certainly have a myopic view of the Universe. This is most certainly NOT a waste of money. First of all, the 2.5 billion was NOT placed on a palette and shot into space. Over the last 10 years since its inception, the Curiosity mission has gainfully employed around 7000 AMERICANS, from scientists to design engineers, from factory workers and assemblers to testers, from truckers to even food personnel. These 7000 AMERICANS then turned around and spent their hard-earned dollars on goods and services for their families, putting the money back INTO the system and IMPROVING the economy, rather than DESTROYING it like 2 unpaid-for wars. Seocndly, there are technological and medical spinoffs from the space program as a whole that touch YOUR life every single day without you even knowing it. The return on investment from the space program is somewhere between 3 and 5 dollars for every 1 dollar spent. Third, the quest for knowledge is as important to mankind as breathing. What would you have advised Queen Isabella when Christopher Columbus asked her for funding? Don't do it because it is a waste of money? And fourth, Curiosity's mission is an attempt to answer THE central question of our existence, namely are we unique and alone in the Universe or is life plentiful outside of our small blue marble? If you don't have that question in your mind, either subconsciously or in the forefront of your thoughts, you are not living up to your potential as a sentient human being.
a) no thanks Mr. government. I would like to choose how to spend my money. you don't need to tax me to do this. taxing Americans in the name of creating government jobs is ridiculous. the "unpaid" for wars made sure bombs were exploding over there. not over here.
b) you can't name a single beneficial "spinoff" generated by the SPACE program, although there have been untold numbers of beneficial spinoffs from the missile programs and the defense satellites. one could argue the space program is nothing more than a spinoff from missile and satellite development.
c) if you can't narrow down ROI from 300% to 500%, then you are simply guessing and you actually have no clue what it is.
d) searching for life where we already know there is none is most certainly not as important as breathing. while it could be said that there is more we can learn about mars by studying mars, that can also be said about any other astral body. the cold truth is we have scoured the solar system for signs of life and there are none. there is nothing outside the solar system close enough for us to ever reach. it isn't possible under any of our current theoretical physics models.
e) Columbus knew the vikings had found gold and resources in America. It wasn't a secret.
f) that question might be important to you, but I could care less. I happen to think it is much more likely that life will find us first, and probably exterminate us. sending cars to cold dead rocks millions of miles away does nothing to hep with that.
I'd like to respond in kind:
a) Taxes pay for your way of life. They pay for the roads, education (such as it is), research into new infrastructure technologies, new infrastructures, communications... The list goes on and on. Second, while NASA is supported by the government, and certainly has government representation, it is not a Government agency. Many of the jobs created, and still in operation, by the Curiosity program were not government jobs. They were private industry. Additionally the "bombs are exploding over there and not over here" comment is so far off base that I don't even want to know where you picked it up. There was never any threat of bombs exploding over here if we didn't get involved in two wars that were, due to tax cuts by the administration of the time, effectively unpaid for.
b) Spinoff technologies generated by the Space program: Artificial Heart, Automotive insulation, Balance Evaluation Systems (used to diagnose and treat head trauma, strokes, and nervous system disorders), Bioreactor (used to grow biological samples in a simulated low gravity environment), Blood Diagnostics equipment (that machine doctors put a drop of your blood in to tell you if you have healthy levels of hemoglobin, sugars, salt and protein in your blood), Gas Detectors (used to detect trace amounts of specific gases in the atmosphere and alert of a potential gas leak), Digital Identification and tracking (Think bar codes), the Infrared camera, high heat ceramics, heat resistant impact-resistant foam (used in safety devices like football helmets and impact areas on vehicles), GPS location, advanced physics.... yeah, the list goes on for a LONG time.
c) The varying technologies have a different ROI, and his statement was in fact slightly off. The actual average ROI from the space program is closer to $6 for ever $1 spent.
d) While we know life does not CURRENTLY exist on Mars, we are actually trying to find out if it previously did, or if the basic necessities for life on Mars ever existed. Anyone who thinks we are looking for current life on Mars has obviously not been keeping up on their reading.
e) While there were people who in fact knew about Vikings finding gold in a distant land, it was thought the land was far to the NORTH, not the East. It was also the common conception of the time that the world was flat and by sailing too far out of the sight of land one would fall off the edge of the world. Additionally Columbus did not set sail to find gold rich new lands, he set sail to find a faster way Eastern India and had no previous knowledge of America before setting sail.
f) You honestly cannot tell me you haven't looked up at the hundreds of thousands of visible stars and wondered "Is there anyone, or anything, out there?" This is a question the has been asked by billions of people for thousands of years. For one, I would like to find out if Earth was special in the pro-genesis of life in our solar system, or if other astral bodies in our solar system were capable of generating life as we know it.
So if you want to consider it this way, YOUR tax dollars went to roads and education, mine went to funding the grants and loans that made Curiosity happen.
n2video – i agree with your views completely. It's a shame that some can't see outside the scope of their own, little, personal squabbles.
Hello n2video. Good to see you again. You would think after as many times as it's been explained to them that at least some of these people would understand the value of exploration and research. But appently not. Pace yourself my friend. It's going to be uphill all the way with some of these fools.
It is important.I lose some hope in man when I see these comments.
You won't be complaining as much when the technology from this leads to a better MRI when you're old and break your hip.
And that my friend is why you drive a cab. This is awesome research for a large number of people that see the investigation of our universe as more important that eating potato chips and watching TV.
The entirety of NASA's budget from it's inception through now–and that included space stations, moon missions, mars rovers, Hubble, the works–is still less than what the government spent on TARP and the bank bailouts in 2008. This crap actually doesn't cost all that much in the grand scheme of things and the amount of scientific knowledge gained is immeasurable. Plus, most of this "crap" flows back into the economy in various ways. The moon mission alone is estimated to have put $14 back into the economy for every $1 spent on it by government. Additionally, NASA alone essentially brought the price of microchips down from up to $1000 a piece in 1961 to a quarter in 1969 by ordering so many and driving that tech–a return that made our entire modern computer-driven society–including this conversation–possible. This "crap" drives innovation here on earth.
I get so tired of people complaining about all that money being wasted on space shots.
For crying out loud, we aren't shooting box cars full of $100 bills into the sun. We are expanding the mind of man. That money goes into salaries. Salaries all the way from the Project Director to the guy who sweeps up and cleans the bathrooms. People who design and machine parts – Folks that drive trucks to haul materials Cooks the make lunch in factories and board rooms – Cab drivers that get them to work and their bartenders.
It is, after all, only money. Obama will print more as fast as he can.
Me for space shots
ALH84001 probably wasn't even from Mars. How would they know that and how would it have flown to earth. lol
They know by its composition.
To answer your question you have to go back a few hundred thousand (maybe even a few million) years. A large astral body, probably something the size of a futball (soccer) stadium, smashed into the surface of Mars and threw a large amount of debris out of Mars' atmosphere and into space. Sometime later (anywhere from a few thousand to a couple million years) A substantial piece of that debris got caught in Earths gravity and after surviving entry into the atmosphere crashed into Earth's surface where it was later located and tested and found to match the composition of Mars. The way we determined that was spectographic analysis. The wonderful thing about this test is it can be performed with the right filters on a camera, and natural light. This even millions of miles away we knew the composition of the surface of Mars a couple decades before the first human made device touched down on its surface.
And there you have it, a rock from Mars, found on Earth, confirmed to be from Mars, and containing the basic building blocks of life as we know it.
The morse code for JPL is dot dash dash dash for J dot dash dash dot for p dot dash dot dot for L
I can't see these patterns in the wheel pictures.
They're backwards in the picture – presumably so they print correctly on the surface. The wheel at the center of the photo has J, P, L, reading downward, with each letter reversed.
It's there, but you have to read it right -> left.
But what does JPL mean?
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Wow! Really? Ever hear of Google?
Extraterrestrial life exits in my head.
Where does it go after it exits?
somewhere to die no doubt.
i belive we came from mars we had to leave when we messed that planet up
we are doing the same thing to this planet.i really believe this they will find something
that looks like it came from here?????? look very close at the photos
Well each to their own, of course. As for myself, I am more leaning towards the truth of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. http://www.venganza.org/
Add more tinfoil to your hat, you're picking up stray mind-control waves.
When earthquakes or tsnumis hit regions with limited communications, what is the way messages get through? Well, its by morse code. There is also PSK which is a digital form of messaging that gets through in the toughest of conditions. You can also send files and images via PSK. You might say that with satellite communicaitons, you don't need HF radio communications. Wrong, they learned with Katirna when cell towers went down, buried fiber repeaters were flooded, and storms made satellite impossible, it was morse code that got messages through to then governor Blanco and dictator Ray Nagin. Of course since both of those people chose to derail FEMA, it wasn't much help.
We need to teach politicians the value of this type of teamwork. JPL can put together a high performance team that can drop a vehicle millions of miles away on another planet, perform complex experiments and our politicians can't even come together to solve the budget deficit?
The old saying is that we get the government we deserve – and I think it's absolutely true.
I think it's more a case of "we get the government they choose for us" rather than we get what we deserve. Every information source is controlled by the government. We are told what to do by the media, unions, and special interest groups. Nothing short of a real armed revolution is going to change the course this country is on.
NASA is asking the wrong question. Who cares if there is life on Mars? What we want to know is whether there is beer on Mars.
If their is beer on Mars, it's gonna be mighty cold.
.. – ..- .-. .. – - .- - .- .-. – .. - -.
On the first articles when curiosity got to Mars the reporters were saying that he weighed 800 Pounds, then he was 1,000 Pounds and they said how big of an accomplishment this was. Now he’s 2,000 Pounds??? Wow this guy is bulking up in Mars!!! What’s going on??
Probably some reporters bad math, typo or failure to accommodate the deltas in gravitational pulls. launch weight was around 8500 lbs (including fuel) and the rover had a weight (on earth) of around 2,000 lbs. Will weigh less on mars, of course.
WHY ARE WE WASTING MONEY ON THIS!?!?!?
Just kidding I didn't see a disparaging remark about spending money on scientific exploration and the comments seemed barren without it ;-) GO CURIOSITY! I'm excited to follow your progress!
Well, thank heavens we got that out of the way!
Life never existed on Mars, Nasa needs to get over themselves !
It did.Stop lying toyourself and do research.
In the whole of outer space and we've been the only life form? I think not!
No one knows if life ever existed on Mars. That's why we spend billions of dollars to find out. The answer will probably be "no", but the question is still worth asking. I hope we find out that life is not really that special, and that we should get over ourselves.
ALH84001 gives us evidence.
I'm beginning to wonder whether it exists on Earth.
Life exists on Earth. It's just intelligent life that seems to be in short supply.
We don't know if life existed there or not. Certainly plausible, though. That's why NASA wants to go look around.
Three words: Marvin...Photo...Bomb...
Great.Hope it does very well.
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Aug 28thDelta IV Heavy launch of NROL-65 spy satellite
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Sept 12thOrbital Sciences maiden flight of Cygnus cargo vehicle on Antares rocket to ISS
Sept 25thSoyuz TMA-10M flight launching Expedition 38 crew to ISS
Dec 9thSpaceX Dragon launch by Falcon 9 v1.1 on CRS-3 cargo supply mission to ISS
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