Curiosity Lands on Mars – August 2012

The following information is provided courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The BIG doings this week center around the August 5/6 landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, at Gale Crater.

Curiosity, the largest and most capable rover ever sent to Mars, is scheduled to land at a place called “Gale Crater” on August 5, 2012.  The rover is so heavy that previously-used methods such as air bags or rocket platforms will not work, so the flight engineers have designed a very clever “sky hook” crane system to lower the rover to the surface.  Once down, Curiosity will begin its mission to sample the three-mile-thick deposit of layered rocks lying within Gale, almost certainly a sequential geological record of conditions in the martian past at a site that was almost certainly a persistent lake for a very long time.  Were such conditions conducive to life arising?  Ahhh, scientific inquiry…!

HERE is where you can go to keep up with the exciting landing of Curiosity:

These sites are your source for up-to-date info and a slew of really good activities, materials, and even games relating to the Curiosity landing; don’t miss the X-Box landing game on the “Participate” site!

Dr. Steven H. Williams
Chief of Education Initiatives
Education Division
National Air and Space Museum
Washington, DC
On temporary assignment as E/PO Lead for NASA’s Planetary Science Division