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NASA's MSL Curiosity rover begins its voyage to Mars - SpacePod 2011.11.28

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NASA's most ambitious Martian rover ever is on its way to the red planet. This is your SpacePod for November 28th, 2011. Announcer: T-15 seconds T-10 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Main engine start. 0 and liftoff of the Atlas V with Curiosity, seeking clues to the planetary puzzle about life on Mars. Ben: NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission lifted off the launch pad atop an Atlas V rocket on November 26th, 2011 at 15:02 UTC. Now this isn't just another rocket launch or rover being sent to the red planet. I could tell you how this is the largest lander we have ever sent to Mars and is nearly the size of a mini cooper. I could tell you that this is the heaviest rover that we have sent to our fourth planet coming in at over 2000 pounds. But instead I think William Pomerantz described this mission best at his LA Space Salon talk. William Pomerantz: For anyone that doesn't recognize it, this is Mars Science Lab also known as Curiosity. This launch is two weeks from Friday ... no, one week from Friday. The day after Thanksgiving. Ah, my wife works on this mission. I'm going to go see it launch. I think it's amazing. I think whoever designed that, the sky-crane landing system, which really briefly is instead of landing on the surface, this thing is going to hover under rocket power a few dozen meters off the surface or less than that. And it's going to lower the rover down on a cable while these 8 rocket engines are firing in perfect precision until the rover's wheels touch down on the surface of Mars. And then it has to blow an explosive bolt and that rocket stage has to fly somewhere else so that it doesn't land on top. That is a crazy idea! Whoever suggested that, I hope had had a couple drinks before walking into that meeting! Never say NASA doesn't take risks! Ben: Needless to say the MSL mission with the Curiosity Rover will be a nail biter as the vehicle enters, descends and then lands on the Martian Surface. To make things even more dramatic, Mars is far enough away that radio signals will take around 10 minutes to reach Earth. In fact, it is so far that by the time we start to get the radio signals telling us that the craft is about to begin its entry into the Martian atmosphere, the vehicle will actually already be on the ground, hopefully in one piece! If everything goes according to plan, then on August 5th, 2012 the Curiosity rover will begin roaming the Gale crater on Mars. Now, we're not just sending Curiosity to Mars for fun. This giant rover has several missions it will attempt to accomplish in one martian year which is nearly 2 years here on Earth. The goals are to determine if life could have ever been there, characterize the climate and geology of this alien world, and finally, help prepare for human exploration of the red planet. NASA is known for its awesome Twitter accounts and the Curiosity Rover is no exception. If you would like to follow real-time updates via the tweety bird, hit up the official account @MarsCuriosity or visit the web site via the far more complicated URL which is Or just go to the link at the bottom of your screen. And if you missed the Launch that's OK! There are plenty of additional rocket launches coming up, and here's a quick list of everything you can watch or tweet about. Finally, if you're a space geek or interested in what is happening within the cosmos, don't forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel. Click the big yellow button and new videos will be automagically added to your YouTube homepage from Spacevidcast. We also have a Twitter account @spacevidcast or of course you can hit up our web site. Spread the word and help us make space exciting again!

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 27 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Benjamin Higginbotham
Director: Benjamin Higginbotham
Views: 65
Posted by: spacevidcast on Mar 24, 2012

NASA's most ambitious Martian rover ever is on its way to the red planet. This is your SpacePod for November 28th, 2011

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