Today marks the last night the Earth passes through the debris of the comet Swift-Tutle and I haven’t seen a single shooting star to wish upon – not that I believe in wishes anyway. The problem is that I live in a city that literally glows with lights all over! Star-gazing is a hobby you can never enjoy in Riyadh! I have seen comets and the Milky Way back home in the Philippines when I was a kid but I have yet to see a meteor shower. I was hoping this year’s Perseids would be it but I was wrong. I guess I have no choice but to wait for next year or the one after that. I might just schedule my next vacation to have a chance at seeing and photographing a meteor shower. Damn I wish I lived in a place where I can watch the stars without the obstruction of city lights!
Curiosity is currently updating her smarts with a new version of its software optimized for its surface mission. The software will be installed on her redundant computers which started last August 10 and will complete on August 13. One key capability in the update is image processing to detect obstacles in her path. NASA dubs it a “brain transplant” which seems appropriate. I can’t wait for the next set of information and images from Mars but until the update is complete I should wait patiently.
Read more about the update at NASA’s press release.
Update: Oops! Forgot the title! My bad!
Curiosity or the Mars Science Laboratory is now on Martian soil – and all of us already knew that, right? What we don’t know though is if all its instruments are working properly but let’s hope for the best.
Speaking of instruments, Curiosity is the most advanced rover ever sent on Mars. It has numerous cameras for different functions and a plethora of instruments to carry out experiments that have never been done on the Red Planet. So as we wait for more information from NASA, let’s do a rundown on what these cameras and instruments are.
The Curiosity rover has now landed safely in the Gale Crater on Mars! The “Seven Minutes of Terror” is no more! It even sent us a nice picture from the surface to prove its success:
What good looks you have there Curiosity! Pure awesomeness!
Congratulations to the MSL team at NASA! Nothing has made me as excited and stoked as I am right now for quite a while! With the Curiosity rover on Martian soil, let the science begin!
Here are more photos:
Curiosity is expected to land on the red planet within an hour and will perform one of the most nail-biting landing procedures ever performed on another planet. The one-ton car-sized rover is the largest lander ever sent to Mars which makes landing such a huge device a challenge. The 14 minute communications delay towards and back from Mars also doesn’t help dampen the tension. I do hope everything goes according to plan. Below is a rundown video showing how Curiosity will land.
Excited? I sure am! Actually, I’m stoked! If you’re like me you should go to NASA’s live stream and watch the news as it becomes available. Due to communications delays we might not know of Curiosity’s fate until later on but let’s hope for the best!
Yes, there is water on Mars!
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory or Curiosity mission is heading towards the red planet. It is scheduled to arrive on Mars in August 6, 2012. It would be looking for past and/or present signs of life, study the Martian climate and geology, and collect data for future manned missions to Mars.
The Curiosity rover is larger than the previous Spirit and Opportunity Mars exploration rovers – about 5 times larger – and carries a plethora of scientific instruments. Given its size and mass, past landing systems will not work therefore it will attempt a terrifying and very precise landing maneuver that has never been used before which is best described in the video below:
Curiosity will land on the Aeolis Palus region of the Gale Crater and is designed to explore the region for around one Martian year (687 Earth days). I hope it keeps ticking even after its actual mission ends so that it can perform extra tasks much like Spirit (which got stuck in 2009 and ceased communication on March 22, 2010) and Opportunity (which is still ticking!).
Curiosity, may you reach Mars without a hitch! Have a successful landing and beam some spectacular new information that only you can provide to us soon!