Monday, August 6, 2012
NASA Curiosity Lands On Mars
NASA's Curiosity Rover, the car-sized, robotic explorer run out of Pasadena's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has landed successfully on Mars, touching down on the Red Planet at 10:32 p.m. Sunday evening. The robotic space vehicle is now scheduled to begin a two-year mission to explore a giant crater on the planet. The rover was designed, developed, and assembled at JPL, which is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The successful landing adds to an already resurging space industry in Southern California, which has seen a big upswing in space-related technology in the past few years. Just Friday, another local, space effort--commercial rocket firm SpaceX--announced a $440M deal with NASA to start delivering astronauts to space; and Boeing, which also won $460M in that same program, has major Southern California operations. The NASA Curiosity Rover is now expected to begin a science mission to start checking the elemental composition of rocks and soil, and understanding the history of the rocks on Mars.