Mars Rover Curiosity Lands on Red Planet
Bangalore: U.S. space agency's nuclear-powered rover Curiosity touched down on Mars on a quest for signs of whether the Earth's neighbour has evidence of past and present habitable environments. It was a tense and daring scientific mission to land the rover on the surface of Mars. And it succeeded.
The Mars science rover Curiosity landed on the Martian surface shortly to begin a two-year mission. Mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said they received signals relayed by a Martian orbiter confirming that the rover had survived a make-or-break descent and landing effort to touch down as planned inside a vast impact crater. NASA has described the achievement as perhaps the most complex ever in robotic spaceflight.
Its mission is to see if Mars ever could have supported small life forms like microbes...and if humans could survive there someday.
"Touchdown confirmed for @MarsCuriosity," said a NASA tweet as its scientists celebrated back in headquarters.
The six-wheeled rover, weighing about one tonne, dwarfs all previous robots sent to the surface of the Mars. It is about twice as long and more than five times as heavy as any previous Mars rover.
It has been equipped with 10 science instruments, including two for ingesting and analysing samples of powdered rock delivered by the rover's robotic arm.
(With IANS inputs)
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