Top 5 Curiosity Rover Facts

Celebrate Curiosity’s 5 year anniversary of exploration on Mars with these Top-5 facts. Enjoy!

Credit: NASA/JPL

On August 5, 2017 NASA JPL’s Mars rover Curiosity celebrates 5 years of exploration on Mars. Wow.

In honor of the anniversary here are five interesting and cool facts about the Curiosity Mars Rover. Enjoy!

Send me cool facts about Curiosity and Mars on social media! Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

5. Does size matter?

Size: Showing the scale of the car-size rover against a 7ft man. Credit: The Daily Mail

Fact #5 — Curiosity is 2.9 m (9.5 ft) long by 2.7 m (8.9 ft) wide by 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in height, which is larger than the earlier Mars Exploration Rovers.

According to the Mars Science Laboratory at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory,Its [Curiosity] mission: to see if Mars ever could have supported small life forms called microbes…and if humans could survive there someday! In addition to super-human senses that help us understand Mars as a habitat for life, Curiosity’s parts are similar to what a human would need to explore Mars (body, brains, eyes, arm, legs, etc.). Check it out though — sometimes they are located in odd places!” — read more here

4. It’s what’s on the inside that counts

Credit: NASA/JPL

Fact #4 — Curiosity’s is fully insulated to help protect the important computer systems inside.

According to the Mars Science Laboratory at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Curiosity’s “body” is an insulated container that protects “vital organs” inside the rover such as its computer “brains.” Its body is high off the ground, so the rover won’t get stuck on any rocks. The power system, which looks like its “tail,” flows excess heat into the body to keep the computer “brains,” avionics, instrument electronics, and interior instruments (SAM and CheMin) warm in the extremely cold Martian temperatures. By analogy, the rover’s body also contains a “digestive system.” A tool on the rover’s “hand” (a drill system) “chews” the rock samples by grinding them into a powder, then pours the samples through funnels on its “back” into its “body.” Once “digested” inside, the rover can tell what it just “ate” with science tools in the “body” that identify what the samples are made of. The rover hopes to find two things: 1) minerals altered in water, which is necessary to life as we know it, and 2) signs of organics, the chemical building blocks of life. That will help explain if Mars could have been a habitat in the past for small life forms called microbes.” — read more here

3. One way ticket to Mars, please.

Credit: Pat Corkery/United Launch Alliance

Fact #3 — Curiosity Rover hitched a ride on an Atlas V-541.

According to Astronomy is Awesome —The spacecraft that carried the Curiosity Rover was launched aboard Atlas V-541 which had sufficient velocity to escape the gravity of Earth and set course to Mars. This rocket was an expendable one, meaning, it was and could be used only once. This launch vehicle was chosen keeping in mind the heavy mass (the total launch mass was roughly 1,170,000 lbs) that was required to be carried into space. The number 541 in the name of the rocket has a special significance. The “5” signifies the 5 meter diameter of the nose cone; “4” represents the 4 boosters that were tethered to the central core booster and “1” signifies the one-engine upper stage of the rocket (Centaur).” —read more here.

Check out Astronomy Is Awesome’s Curiosity Rover infographic here.

2. Selfie game on-point

Credit: NASA/JPL

Fact #2— The Mars Rover’s mast, known as its “neck and head,” carries seven of Curiosity’s seventeen cameras

According to the Mars Science Laboratory at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “Curiosity’s “neck and head” (mast) carries seven of Curiosity’s seventeen camera “eyes.” Cameras on Curiosity’s mast provide a view similar to what a nearly seven-foot-tall basketball player would see on Mars. Before deciding whether it is worth it to make the drive over to rocks and rock layers of interest, a laser on the rover’s “forehead” can zap them from a distance analyze what the vapor is made of to see if they are interesting enough to study close up. Most interesting are materials that formed in water, key to life as we know it.” — read more here

1. How long can you hold your breath?

Published on 22 Jun 2012

Fun Fact #1 — It took 14 minutes for the signal from the spacecraft to make it back to earth during entry into the Martian atmosphere.

Make sure to watch “7 Minutes of Terror: The Challenges of Getting to Mars” on YouTube created the by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

YouTube description —Team members at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory share the challenges of the Curiosity Mars rover’s final minutes to landing on the surface of Mars.”

*Bonus* Have you seen the Five Years of Curiosity Driving on Mars? Check it out below:

Published on 2 Aug 2017 on YouTube

YouTube description — “Five years of images from the front left hazard avoidance camera (Hazcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover were used to create this time-lapse movie. The inset map shows the rover’s location in Mars’ Gale Crater. Each image is labeled with the date it was taken, and its corresponding sol (Martian day), along with information about the rover’s location at the time.

Find out more about the results from five years of missions on Mars by visiting the NASA JPL website here.

What cool facts about Curiosity do you know that I didn’t include? Let me know on social media. Follow me on LinkedIn ,Twitter, or Facebook!

“We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.” - Neil deGrasse Tyson
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