Nasa Curiosity Mission

1255 WordsApr 29, 20156 Pages
The topic of Mars has long been of interest to astronomers and science fiction enthusiast alike. The premise of another planet supporting life excites people like no other. In 2004, The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, began preliminary science experiments and instrument proposals for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and a robotic space probe mission to Mars. After long testing and development stages, the mission birthed a rover, Curiosity, which was launched in November 2011 and subsequently landed August 6th 2012. As we speak Curiosity is collecting invaluable data for our understanding of mars including: habitability, climate and geology, and possibly setting up a manned mission to mars in the…show more content…
The Curiosity rover is an amazing piece of machinery, and it must be to accomplish the objectives that it plans to. NASA obviously had the greatest minds and engineers on this project as is evident by its construction. The rover is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, akin to the rovers of previous Mars missions. A Radioisotope power system is a generator that produces electricity from the natural decay of plutonium-238, which is an isotope. Heat given off by the natural decay of this isotope is converted into electricity by thermocouples, providing Curiosity with constant power during all seasons and through the day and night. Extra heat given off called waste heat can be used via pipes to warm systems, freeing electrical power for the operation of the vehicle and instruments. This is crucial as the temperature on Mars can vary from -127 to 40 degrees C. Additionally there are two computers in board the rover called the Rover Compute Element. The computers contain radiation-hardened memory to deal with the extreme amounts of radiation in space. The rover's computers are constantly self-monitoring to keep the rover operational, such as by regulating the rover's temperature. Communication is also a vital part of the mission which is why Curiosity is equipped with telecommunication by several means. The first is an X band transmitter and receiver that can communicate directly with Earth. Another is a UHF Electra-Lite software-defined radio
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