NASA’s latest martian robot, the Curiosity rover, part of the Mars Science Laboratory mission has successfully landed on the surface of Mars on the 6th of August, near the Gale Crater. The mission started on November 26, 2011 when it was launched from Cape Canaveral. It is the largest martian rover ever built by NASA, at nearly 900 kilograms, and also the most well-equipped, with 17 cameras and scientific instruments onboard. In this article we present high detail artistic renderings of the rover, a few real life photos from development stages and a list of resources for further reading. All images presented here are courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Curiosity side view – it employs a rocker-bogie suspension system, just like Sojourner and Opportunity with independently actuated wheels.
Curiosity with wheel on ramp, during lab mobility tests in June 2011.
Instruments and tools onboard the rover.
Rolling platform used for mobility testing in May 2012 on sand dunes in California.
Three generations of martian rovers side by side.
MSL mission landing timeline.
Rendering of spacecraft carrying the Curiosity rover with bottom heat shield section removed to reveal the rover and parachute. The parachute is the largest to be employed in a planetary mission, it is attached to the MSL spacecraft with 80 suspension lines and when opened has a diameter of 16 meters, generating drag up to almost 30.000 kgf.
Rendering of descent stage rockets firing to slow down the aircraft to a minimum before Sky Crane deployment.
Rendering of Sky Crane deploying the rover and touchdown.
Renderings of Curiosity fully deployed, doing research on Mars surface.
- Mars Science Laboratory website, Latest news and data about the MSL
- Mars Science Laboratory, NASA mission page
- NASA MSL Multimedia archive, Pictures of the MSL and latest pictures sent back by Curiosity
- Curiosity rover, Wikipedia
- Mars Science Laboratory, Wikipedia
- Malin Space Science Systems, Details about instruments onboard Curiosity – MastCam, MAHLI, MARDI and MMM DEA interface
- MSL Curiosity animation, YouTube
- Artificial objects on Mars, Wikipedia