NASA's Curiosity Rover Lands!

Curiosity Rover Touches Down Safely!

At 3:31pm AEST NASA's Curiosity Rover touched down on the surface of Mars!

 After a breathless 7 minutes and 45 seconds, signal came back from Curiosity confirming that not only had she survived her Entry Descent Landing (EDL), but had landed exactly where she was supposed to. Landing Curiosity (or MSL) was no small feat: the landing sequence required six vehicle configurations, an enormous supersonic parachute, 76 pyrotechnic devices and over half a million lines of code.At each stage of the Landing sequence Curiosity emitted a tone that could be read by the team at Pasadena indicating successful transition to the next stage.  While telemetry was a little slow coming online it eventually did start to return information - much to everyone's relief!  4 minutes 35 seconds after receiving telemetry the supersonic parachute was successfully deployed, then 1 minute and 25 seconds later was jettisoned and the Rover then shifted from stowed flight configuration (all folded up in the descent module) to landing configuration (wheels deployed for landing as the Sky Crane began to lower it down. 32 seconds after Sky Crane began the lowering sequence Curiosity successfully touched down!
The very first image Curiosity sent back to an
ecstatic Mission Control at JPL

Congratulations to the NASA MSL team for a stupendous job and good luck to Curiosity as she embarks on her exploration of Gale Crater.

Curiosity'sheat shield as seen
by the Descent Imager.
Curiosity's supersonic parachute
spotted by Mars Reconnaissance
Looking toward Mt Sharp.
Curiosity's mission objective:
to look at the layers in the
mountain and look for evidence
of potential habitation.
Curiosity's first colour image.
Looking over the wall of Gale
Crater, to the north of the
rover's position.

Would you like to drive your own Mars rover?

Meet MASL (Mars Autonomous Science Laboratory), the world's only 'Mars' rover made exclusively for secondary education.  The MASL program is designed for year 9 and 10 students, taking them behind the scenes of an unmanned mission where they take on the roles of mission controllers and guide the MASLrover on it's mission exploring the Red Planet.This mission can be carried out in your own school or in our Centre.  Students coming to the Centre will undertake a full day program including Mission Training, Laboratory Experiments and of course, driving MASL.Students undertaking the MASL mission will choose the landing site of their Rover via site selection, where they will study the 'final four' potential sites and make their case for the best landing site.  As students wait for MASL to land on Mars they will choose and qualify for a Mission Control role, then use their knowledge and skills to unlock Mar's secrets.