SpaceJibe

June 26, 2012

Inside Huge Mars Rover’s Sky Crane Landing (Infographic)

Once mated to its descent stage, the Mars Science Laboratory will be placed inside its aeroshell that will protect Curiosity during its deep space cruise to Mars. The hatchway opening in the aeroshell will allow engineers access a few days before launch to install the rover's power source, a radioisotope power system that generates electricity from the heat of plutonium's radioactive decay. This power source gives the mission an operating lifespan on Mars' surface of at least a full Martian year (687 Earth days, or 1.9 Earth years).

Curiosity’s Aeroshell – Once mated to its descent stage, the Mars Science Laboratory will be placed inside its aeroshell that will protect Curiosity during its deep space cruise to Mars. The hatchway opening in the aeroshell will allow engineers access a few days before launch to install the rover’s power source, a radioisotope power system that generates electricity from the heat of plutonium’s radioactive decay. This power source gives the mission an operating lifespan on Mars’ surface of at least a full Martian year (687 Earth days, or 1.9 Earth years).

 

 

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, also known as the Curiosity Mars rover, is a huge six-wheeled robot the size of a small car. The nuclear-powered rover won’t land using rockets or airbags like past Mars missions. Instead, NASA has built a rocket-propelled sky crane that will hover over the Martian surface and lower the $2.5 billion rover to the Red Planet’s surface. Learn all about how the Mars rover’s landing will work in the SPACE.com infographic above,then check out the following Mars rover mission features.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), named Curiosity, as seen fully deployed on Friday, Aug. 12, 2011 during a media photo opportunity inside Kennedy Space Center's Kennedy's Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility in Florida.

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), named Curiosity, as seen fully deployed on Friday, Aug. 12, 2011 during a media photo opportunity inside Kennedy Space Center’s Kennedy’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility in Florida.

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