Monday, August 6, 2012

Curiosity, Welcome to Mars!

Great job, NASA!  You've gotten Curiosity to Mars!

First images coming..  The first image is a thumbnail of a wheel in the foreground and the horizon of Mars in the background.  The first full resolution image is the shadow of Curiosity on the face of Mars.

I watched the landing live through the NASA JPL feed and it is hard to believe how smoothly it went.  Every piece of the entry vehicle operated exactly as designed.  The communications equipment worked perfectly with only short dropouts as various portions of the entry vehicle separated.  The is a fantastic feat of engineering.  I can't wait to see the science this rover produces.

Update:  Added photos of Curiosity during its parachute descent phase taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Update 2:  The mother lode of space ephemera blogs posted a great image collection of how we have imagined travel to Mars:

Update 3:  Added photo of Curiosity's shadow with Mt. Gale in the background.

First High Resolution Image
Here is the first high resolution image from Curiosity.  The crud is dust on a protective shield that has now been lowered.
Fresh Image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter posted by NASA August 6:  Curiosity in descent under the hyper-sonic parachute.

Mission Control Post Landing Confirmation:  Here are a few shots of the control room post landing taken from my LCD.

Victory and relief.

This is the guy in charge of the entry vehicle team.  He cleaned up pretty good for someone who flunked Geometry in high school.

First images.  I'm still smiling!
Landing Plus 18 hours:  Curiosity's shadow with Mt. Gale in the background.  Our rover is going to climb that bad boy sometime during its two year mission.  "Our rover" as in during the press conference last night, the mission director mentioned that it cost each American around $7.00.  I think a little national pride is worth seven bucks.


  1. Great job NASA.

    RE: spam, I think I had 2 since I turned off the captcha several months ago.

  2. Well, I share your excitement! This is awesome.....

    And I love that dude's (Entry vehicle team IC) rockabilly style haircut!

  3. I had to do a search to find out how it went. Very good news, looking forward to the updates as they come in.

  4. I was up till 2am and then couldn't get back to sleep until 3 - so jazzed. Remember sitting up with my 9 brothers and sisters to watch Apollo 11 - this stuff never gets old.

  5. All: I am still jazzed, even after getting to bed at 2:00 AM and having the alarm go off at 6:30 for work. I told myself that I would wait for morning for the results, but how often does something like this happen? I had to watch it live! As Ledeaux commented, this is still as exciting to me as watching the Apollo missions as a kid.

    The Entry/Descent/Landing (EDL) chief is a true American original. By all accounts, he was a total screw up in high school and has now taken his brand of nerd ingenuity and eccentricity to the national stage. I use him as Exhibit A with my kids in talking about the gifted underachievers they know in middle and high school.

    Thanks for reading! We live in exciting times.


Dang. My blog was hit by Spam comments. Comment moderation has been turned on for some time yet to be determined.