“Touchdown confirmed,” said engineer Allen Chen. “We’re safe on Mars.” These words changed whole scene in the mission control room dramatically. Scientists and Engineers at CalTec hustled in joy and satisfaction because their most ambitious planetary project (and most costly as well) had successfully landed on the surface of Mars. The landing manoeuvre, called “seven minutes of terror” was an absolute success. It was the most crucial as well as most difficult part of the mission. This included decelerating the rover from 13500 miles/hour to zero in seven minutes. Within few minutes of landing the rover called ‘Curiosity’ started sending pictures from the Martian surface. The rover is nuclear powered and has a weight of about a ton. It has a size of small car and took eight months to travel from earth to its destination. It also has a flexible robotic arm and has six wheels.
The mission is said to pave the way for the manned missions on the red planet. It has several scientific equipments, weather station, camera and host of other equipments to check if the conditions are survivable for humans. It is basically a lab that will search for the existence of water and life on Mars. This two and half billion dollars craft is seen as a significant step for solving various queries that has bothered the scientists regarding the planet.
The rover landed in equatorial region of Mars inside Gale Crater. It is expected to send some vital information for about two years from Mars. Scientists from NASA has great expectations from this rover, primarily because it is there most costly mission and secondly due to the funding cuts from the US government. It is expected that the rover is worth its cost. NASA is also planning manned mission to Mars before 2030, so it will also be helpful to check the radiation levels on planet. This mission is considered to be a pivotal landmark for further missions to the red planet.
This effort from NASA may provide them a new lease of life, as in recent history their budgets have taken a toll due slow growth rate of economy in US. Do watch this video below: