NASA's Seven Minutes of Terror: Curiosity's precarious Mars landing explained (video)

This almost seems like science fiction!

[quote]Edited and scored with the dramatic tension of a summer blockbuster trailer, NASA’s put together a gripping short clip that dresses down Curiosity’s mission to Mars for the layman. The “car-sized” rover, set to touchdown on August 5th of this year at 10:31PM PDT, is currently journeying towards the Red Planet on a suicide mission of sorts, with the success of its make it or break it EDL (enter, descent, landing) wracking the nerves of our Space Agency’s greatest minds in advance.

A period of radio silence, dubbed the “seven minutes of terror” for the amount of time it takes a signal to reach Earth, during which the craft will have already either smashed disastrously into the Martian landscape or nestled perfectly down from the ascend phase on a 21ft long tether. The logistics involved are so numerous and prone to error – slowing the craft from 13,000 mph to 0 mph and then deploying, detaching and avoiding collision with the supersonic parachute for starters – that it’s a wonder the government ever signed off on the project. [/quote]

Pardon my hyperbole, but to me, in a way this a grandiose version of what we envision our FEZes to do (with a difficulty factor of 1 bazillion) – ie the Quadcopter project.

1 Like

I know NASA get some stick from certain quarters which personally i never understoodbut, damn thats some awsome descent. Gotta love those guys in my opinion. i always thought the huygens probe and cassini project at saturns moon titan was impressive.

65 thousands pounds of thrust with 9gs of acceleration to contend with now thats what i call a parachute.

Just awesome. I understand how mathematically this is possible but even knowing the amazing thing’s they’ve accomplished in the past my brain still has a hard time believing that we can fly millions of miles across space, through an atmosphere no human has ever seen and then land safely in such a dramatic way on the surface of a planet we’ve never touched foot on. It reminds me of trying to debug I2C code without a logic analyzer :slight_smile: Good luck, NASA!

EDIT: Hey, Josh! I think you have a bug. The site says I’m now a King and I only have 24,624 points! I’m trying to pace myself until you re-open the rewards system. Did I just get cheated by the system? :wink:

1 Like

Idd Ian, I too think this is one of the biggest things we’ve ever accomplished! Crazy stuff.

Very cool!

It looks like you’re out of luck body, (You got promoted :slight_smile: ) they’ve just adjusted the system and lowered the points to existing ranks and added new ones… :wink:
check it here: