Transcript

Curiosity - 7 Minutes of Terror

CURIOSITY 7 MINUTES OF TERROR Approaching Mars at 13,000 mph (estimate) To ensure a successful entry, descent, and landing, engineers begin intensive preparations during the approach phase, 45 days before the spacecraft enters the Martian atmosphere. The Deep Space Network's 34-meter and 70-meter antennas will be able to provide tracking coverage of the spacecraft during the approach phase. GETTING FROM THE TOP OF THE ATMOSPHERE DOWN TO THE SURFACE TAKES 7 MINUTES CURIOSITY CARRIES OVER 10 TIMES THE MASS OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS AS THE SPIRIT OR OPPORTUNITY ROVERS E N TRY MARS' ATMOSPHERE IS 100 TIMES THINNER THAN EARTH Guided Entry and Deceleration to 1,000 mph (estimate) The spacecraft will be controlled by small rockets during descent through the Martian atmosphere, toward the surface. Peak deceleration is reached after entry into the Martian atmosphere. THE HEAT SHIELD REACHES 1,600 DEGREES DES CENI Parachute Deploys at 900 mph (estimate) LIke Viking, Pathfinder and the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, the Curiosity rover will be slowed by a large parachute, at about 12 km altitude. For the Curiosity rover, which is about 5 times heavier, the parachute is about 128% larger in area than the one used for Spirit and Opportunity. THE MSL SUPERSONIC PARACHUTE Heat Shield MUST BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND Separates at 65,000 POUNDS OF FORCE 370 THE PARACHUTE WEIGHS ABOUT 100 POUNDS mph (estimate) IT IS OVER TWICE THE AREA OF THE MER PARACHUTE When the entry phase is complete and the capsule has slowed nominally to Mach 0.6 and at about 9 km altitude, the heat shield will separate and fall away. Powered Descent to 70 A CAMERA ON THE BOTTOM mph (estimate) OF THE ROVER WILL SHOOT ABOUT 5 FRAMES PER SECOND Curiosity will be powered down to the surface of Mars. DURING A PERIOD OF ABOUT Reverse rockets will stabilize 2 MINUTES BEFORE LANDING the vehicle, protecting it from any horizontal winds. Sky Crane lowers at THE DESCENT STAGE REQUIRES 8 ROCKET THRUSTERS mph (estimate) TO SLOW IT'S SPEED AFTER The sky crane touchdown system will lower Curiosity to a soft landing - wheels down - on the surface of Mars. DROPPING FROM THE AEROSHELL THE ROVER IS SUSPENDED ROUGHLY 25 FEET BELOW THE DESCENT STAGE LAN DIN G Touchdown at mph The sky crane system slows and the rover touches down. It waits 1.5 seconds to UPON CONFIRMATION OF LANDING, confirm that it is on solid THE BRIDLE MUST BE CUT ground and fires several pyros (small explosive devices) activating cable IMMEDIATELY BEFORE FLYING THE DESCENT STAGE cutters on the bridle and AWAY FROM THE ROVER umbilical cords to free itself from the descent stage. The descent stage promptly flies away to a crash landing, and the rover gets ready to roam Mars. 2.

Curiosity - 7 Minutes of Terror

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This infographic depicts the suspenseful 7 minutes it takes for Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory) to get from the top of Mars' atmosphere to its surface. Represented are the Entry, Descent and L...

Publisher

NASA

Category

Science
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