Curiosity – NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Mission Robot

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.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity with wheel on ramp, during lab mobility tests in June 2011.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Instruments and tools onboard the rover.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Rolling platform used for mobility testing in May 2012 on sand dunes in California.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Three generations of martian rovers side by side.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

MSL mission landing timeline.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Rendering of descent stage rockets firing to slow down the aircraft to a minimum before Sky Crane deployment.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Rendering of Sky Crane deploying the rover and touchdown.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Renderings of Curiosity fully deployed, doing research on Mars surface.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 


Resources