A Week on Mars: Curiosity Rover Settles in for Long Martian Haul

A Week on Mars: Curiosity Rover Settles in for Long Martian Haul

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After a full week on the Red Planet, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is celebrating with a little rest and relaxation. The 1-ton rover began beaming home photos and testing out its 10 science instruments almost immediately after its dramatic landing on Mars on the night of Aug. 5. But Curiosity is now in the middle of a four-day quiescent period, transitioning from landing software to programs optimized for surface operations.

Curiosity already has a lot to be proud of. For starters, it executed a daring and unprecedented landing pretty much flawlessly. And the rover’s equipment is working very well on the surface so far, researchers said. Mission scientists and engineers have yet to encounter a major issue with any of Curiosity’s 17 cameras or 10 science instruments. That high-tech gear has already been put to use. Curiosity has sent lots of images back to its handlers, including footage of its harrowing descent and a color panorama of its landing site. And the rover’s Radiation Assessment Detector instrument took a 3 1/2-hour measurement, gathering data that could help NASA plan for future manned missions to the Red Planet.

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