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Machines Like Us

Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror

Monday, 25 June 2012

Team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory share the challenges of the Curiosity Mars rover's final minutes to landing on the surface of Mars.

Curiosity is about five times larger than the Spirit or Opportunity Mars exploration rovers, and carries over ten times the mass of scientific instruments. It will attempt a more precise landing than previous rovers, within a landing ellipse of 7 km by 20 km, in the Aeolis Palus region of Gale Crater. This location is near the mountain Aeolis Mons (formerly called "Mount Sharp"). It is designed to explore for at least 687 Earth days (1 Martian year) over a range of 5–20 km (3–12 miles).