NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover

Posted on June 16, 2011  Comments (7)

Curiosity is the name of the new rover from NASA. It will be launched to continue the exploration of Mars so successfully done by Spirit and Opportunity (2 previous Mars rovers that did some amazing work and laster years longer than expected). The rover is NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, a mobile robot for investigating Mars’ past or present ability to sustain microbial life.

photo of NASA's Mars Rover: Curiosity

Once on the surface, the rover will be able to roll over obstacles up to 75 centimeters (29 inches) high and travel up to 90 meters per hour. On average, the rover is expected to travel about 30 meters per hour, based on power levels, slippage, steepness of the terrain, visibility, and other variables.

The rover is about the size of a small SUV — 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall. It weighs 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds)

The rover will carry a radioisotope power system that generates electricity from the heat of plutonium’s radioactive decay. This power source gives the mission an operating lifespan on Mars’ surface of a full martian year (687 Earth days) or more, while also providing significantly greater mobility and operational flexibility, enhanced science payload capability, and exploration of a much larger range of latitudes and altitudes than was possible on previous missions to Mars.

Related: Mars Rover Continues ExplorationMars Rovers Getting Ready for Another Adventure (2007)Sunset on Mars

7 Responses to “NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover”

  1. Paul Anderson
    June 17th, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    Ok, now this sounds ironic to me… I mean one must say the continuous height of success of NASA in the mars exploration and if there is life then wht kind of people has already been living their and more other information which is really valuable to us…

    NASA being the mark of excellence producing great opportunities to live a better and more advanced life technically!

    Truly Awesome!

  2. Nick
    June 17th, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    Go Curiosity! :)
    May be worth mentioning that the mission is scheduled to launch between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011 and arrive on Mars sometime in August 2012
    Cheers!

  3. Anonymous
    June 27th, 2011 @ 3:19 am

    Its quite good to see that after successful missions of “Spirit and Opportunity” the NASA has developed another vehicle to continue MARS mission and the most impressive thing to me is that it would a unique power system which will going to run a full martian year. I hope that scientist will develop something like ” plutonium’s radioactive decay” for generating power electricity on commercial scale. Thanks for sharing this news with us and please do share more on this in future.

  4. Joe
    July 1st, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    Great vehicle! I hope Curiosity will find something really interesting on the Red planet.

  5. Anonymous
    July 1st, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

    I had the opportunity to see the real and mockup of the Mars rover last June. You can see the pix here:
    http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2010/06/space-day.html

    Sadly, today is the first day that I cannot drive my Prius in the carpool lane alone. How will I ever get from my LAX-area office to JPL in Pasadena on time for meetings?

  6. Russia Launches Mars Moon Probe » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    November 8th, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

    This attempt failed also, making Russia 0 for 17 on Mars attempts. In the last few years Russia has shown a renewed interest in investing in space exploration…

  7. Landing Curiosity on Mars » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    July 15th, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

    Nice web simulation of the upcoming landing plan for the NASA Mars rover – Curiosity.

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