NASA's 'Curiosity' rover to discover existence of life on Mars

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Curiosity, the car-size one tone rover is bound for arrival
on Mars at 1:30 am., EDT on Aug. 6
Washington: Though NASA’s newest Mars rover, Curiosity, has left with some days to end its journey after its successful landing on Sunday on the Red Planet i.e Mars but ahead of the mission the buzz is in the air that it heading toward a mountain that may hold clues about whether life has ever existed on Mars.

The rover, also known as Curiosity, has been careening toward Mars since its launch in November. The nuclear-powered rover the size of a compact car is expected to end its 352-million-mile (567-million-km) journey on August 6 at 1:31 a.m. ET.

Notably, it is the NASA’s most ambitious and expensive Mars mission with the smartest rover ever built.

On landing day, MSL can steer enough during its flight through the upper atmosphere to correct for a miss of the target entry point by a few miles and still land within its target ellipse. Mission engineers and managers have rated the projected 13-mile miss big enough to warrant a correction maneuver.

 Telemetry and tracking data has indicated that the maneuver was successful. MSL will have two further opportunities for additional course corrections during the final 48 hours before landing, if needed.

If all goes well, Curiosity will spend two years trying to figure out if the Mars environment was once suitable for microbes.

NASA last week successfully repositioned its Mars-orbiting Odyssey spacecraft so that it would be able to monitor Curiosity's descent and landing and radio the information back to ground controllers in as close to real time as possible.

Earth and Mars are so far apart that radio signals, which travel at the speed of light, take 13.8 minutes for a one-way journey.

The rover is expected to discover clues for presence of life on Mars. 
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