The last time NASA was in such a spotlight was when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, declaring how it was one small step for a man — one giant leap for mankind, he was indeed very right for from then onwards science has progressed so much that with the development of more sophisticated technologies forty three years later engineers and analysts at NASA have launched the ‘Curiosity Rover’ to a planet that has been rumored to contain some form of life, which people usually refer to as the Martians, their existence, however, is still a mystery.
The Curiosity Rover landed on the soil of Mars on Sunday after a brilliantly executed journey of eight months and 352 million miles. NASA invested a total of $2.5 billion on this unbelievable rover. The Rover is not any ordinary car as it is nuclear-powered, six-wheeled and fully equipped with navigation cameras and devices to sustain it for as long as the investigation lasts. The landing was quiet unpredictable, since it is the first heavy car (weighs one ton) of its kind and could not land using only air bags, so it was installed with a heat shield, parachute, rockets and cables to touch down on the ground. It had only seven minutes to go from 13,000 mph to zero for a safe landing without any damage to all the machinery.
So when did scientists finally sigh a sigh of relief?
On Tuesday when The eagle-eyed Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter finally picked up and transmitted images of the Rover’s spacecraft parts which were shed during the landing, the heat shield could primarily be seen very vividly. According to Sarah Milkovich who is a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist the sprawled discarded spacecraft parts and the shield reminded her of a crime scene.
Purpose of Curiosity Rover
The primary purpose to bring the Curiosity Rover into existence was to examine rocks and soil at Mars to determine whether any sort of life or microbes could have ever survived on the soil, which will give us a huge clue on whether Martians ever existed or more possibly if they still exist, and are our fellow-planet neighbors. The crucial goal or point that the Rover has to reach is Mount Sharp rising from the floor of Gale Crater near the equator. The miraculous thing is that the Rover landed only four miles away from that destination. This destination is of particular interest to scientists because images from space expose symbols of past water on the lower flanks, which suggests that there might actually be some form of life-form which exists on the planet.
The Curiosity Rover will be moving in a few days when all the systems have been checked. The successful landing expedition has been quiet a boost for NASA, and scientists and engineers are hopeful that this two year expedition might actually turn out to be a success. The pictures taken by the Rover have been unclear but if the photos keep coming and something worth while is spotted it won’t be long before the public and the congress agree to spending astronauts to Mars, the first man to land on mars might make it there till mid-2030s if more progress is seen.