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:
- LATEST INFO: http://www.nasa.gov/mars
- MARS TOOLKIT: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/msl_landing.cfm
- PARTICIPATE: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate
- Get Curious: http://getcurious.com
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
National Air and Space Museum
On temporary assignment as E/PO Lead for NASA’s Planetary Science Division