Sunday, August 5, 2012
Mission: Will Curiosity find signs of life?
Are we alone? NASA's Mars rover aims to find out AP - August 5, 2012
The planet is Earth's closest neighbor, and scientists have found signs of water there, hinting that some form of life was once likely, even though Mars is now a dry place with a thin atmosphere, extreme winters and dust storms.
Last-minute guide to the Mars landing MSNBC - August 5, 2012
The descent of NASA's Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars is must-see TV on Sunday night. Eight months after its launch, the Mars Science Laboratory will plunge through Mars' atmosphere and deliver the Curiosity rover to the bottom of Gale Crater, for a two-year mission aimed at documenting billions of years' worth of the geological record. Its prime objective is to study the layers of rock on a 3-mile-high mountain inside the crater, known as Aeolis Mons or Mount Sharp. Curiosity's 10 instruments can analyze the chemistry of Mars' rocks, soil and atmosphere in unprecedented detail. It has a drill, a robotic arm with a microscope, a miniaturized laboratory and even a rock-blasting laser. Curiosity isn't designed to detect life directly, but it can identify chemicals hinting at how habitable Mars was in ancient times. Because the nuclear-powered rover weighs a ton, it has to be lowered to the surface on cables during a set of maneuvers known as the "Seven Minutes of Terror."
Today's Birthdays and Quotes
Neil Armstrong Google Videos
Neil Alden Armstrong is a former American astronaut, test pilot, university professor, and United States Naval Aviator. He was the first person to set foot on the Moon as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission on July 20, 1969. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent 2.5 hours exploring the lunar surface while Michael Collins orbited.