Mars Rover Landing (01:38)
NASA scientists anxiously anticipate the winched landing of the Mars rover, Curiosity, after two thirds of previous missions there had failed.
Curiosity Landing Team (02:00)
At the Space Fight Control Center in the Jet Propulsion Labs in CA, Curiosity's team practice for the rover's landing. Flight Director, Brian Portock, Ann Devereaux, Adam Steltzner and Chief Engineer Joe Krajewski oversee the delicate landing.
Mars: the Bermuda Triangle of Space (02:29)
Since the first rocket launches to Mars in the 1960's, two thirds have ended in various disasters. After surfing, Krajewski talks about his job engineering rovers and the 8 years of the development of Curiosity.
The Rover and Its Earthbound Clone (02:54)
Curiosity's clone is kept at the JPL laboratory, running on its own nuclear generator. The large rover is built to survive space and operate on Mars' difficult terrain while conducting scientific experiments.
Comparison with Lunar Rovers (02:15)
Unlike the lunar rovers of the1970's Apollo missions, Adam Steltzner points out the challenges of unpredictable weather, atmosphere and the approach velocity for Curiosity's successful landing on Mars.
Curiosity's Landing Parts are Tested (01:56)
The space craft that carries Curiosity has a heat shield and the large parachute that must deploy at twice the speed of sound. NASA engineers test the various landing parts, like the parachute and Sky Crane.
Challenges of the Space Flight (03:30)
Using the analogy of beach football, Flight Director Brian Portock's comments on the challenges of guiding Curiosity to Mars, rotating the space craft, launching from Earth, surviving solar radiation, and the gravitational pull of other planets.
Communicating with Curiosity (06:01)
In November of 2011, the rover arrived for launch on an Atlas rocket at the Kennedy Space Center, and communication with the rover began. Ann Devereaux monitors the ultra high radio frequencies received by the DSS14 dish antenna in the Mojave Desert.
Blackout During the Martian Night (02:35)
Once on the planet, Curiosity can only communicate with Earth during the Martian day. As Curiosity's arrival corresponds to night on Mars, the team will lose direct communication midway during landing. The team can rely on two previous orbiters in a novel and risky operation.
Animation of Curiosity's Landing Maneuvers (02:52)
Adam Steltzner describes the landing in a NASA animation as the parachute deploys to slow the space craft, and the Sky Crane deploys and lowers Curiosity to Mars' surface.
The Motivating Question: Are We Alone? (03:40)
Since Galileo's first telescope, professionals and amateurs have been intrigued by Mars. Curiosity's planetary scientist, Ashwin Vasavada, comments on the Martian polar caps, seasons, and the Martian images taken in 1976 by the Viking lander.
NASA's Viking Mission (03:03)
The Viking mission in 1976 was the first attempt to land on Mars to search for life. Although the Viking results were ambiguous, other landers supplied information and the realization that evidence for previous life would lie below the desert surface, and back in time.
Tests to Explore Mars Environmental History (03:41)
In the Mohave Desert, Project Scientist, John Grotzinger, designs tests for carbonates as evidence for liquid water from rocks in Mars' Gayle Crater and on Mt. Sharp. He explains how layers in the mountain wall tell the geological past and environmental history of the planet.
Mars Science Laboratory (01:29)
Project scientist John Grotzinger explains Curiosity's instruments that video, apply lasers, ping below the surface, dig and take samples for the rover's chemistry lab.
Curiosity's Clone, SAM, Tests for Evidence of Life (04:05)
SAM, a clone of Curiosity's mobile space kit designed by Paul McHaffey at the Goddard Space Laboratory, demonstrates how Curiosity will test for minerals and organic compounds present in the rock samples prepared by Curiosity's other instruments.
Curiosity's Successful Landing (07:59)
Chief Engineer Joe Krajewski handles the stress of the approaching launch by surfing. Curiosity's team simulate the rover's landing to prepare for the successful real landing five days later. Curiosity is now conducting its scientific mission.
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