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Mars Curiosity Rover Visual Aid

Mars Curiosity Rover Visual Aid

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NASA
NASA

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Aviation/Space History Library on Oct 08, 2012
Copyright:Public Domain

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10/08/2012

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration
www.nasa.gov
SEEKING SIGNS OF LIFE
NASA’s Mars Exploration Program has been created to under-take the long-term robotic exploration o Mars, the Red Planet.The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) project is the next mis-sion in a series o explorations intended to unlock the historyo Mars. Part o MSL is a mobile robotic rover, appropriatelynamed
Curiosity 
, which is designed or conducting an in-depthinvestigation o Mars’ past or present ability to sustain micro-bial lie. In essence, the mission is to determine the planet’s“habitability.”
Curiosity 
is larger and can travel arther than
Spirit 
and
Opportunit 
y, NASA’s two Mars Exploration Roversthat began exploring the Red Planet in early 2004.
Curiosity 
 will carry the biggest, most advanced suite o instrumentsor scientic studies ever sent to the martian surace. Therover will analyze dozens o samples scooped rom the soil,drilled rom rocks, and pulled rom the atmosphere. The recordo the planet’s climate and geology is essentially “written inthe rocks and soil”—in their ormation, structure, and chemi-cal composition. The rover’s onboard laboratory will studythe samples and the local geologic setting in order to detectchemical building blocks o lie (e.g., orms o carbon) on Mars.It will assess what the martian environment was like in thepast, addressing the undamental question, “Was Mars ever ahabitat or microbial lie?”
Gale Crater
is a ascinating place to explorebecause o the mountain o layered materials in the mid-dle—a mound about 3 times as high as the rim o the GrandCanyon (5 km/3 miles) on Earth! The layers tell a storyabout what Mars was like in the past, perhaps spanningmuch o the early history o the Red Planet. Studies romorbit have revealed that the layers have dierent mineralsdepending on their height. Near the bottom o the moundare clay minerals. Above the clay-bearing layers are layerswith minerals containing sulur and oxygen. These dierentlayers represent dierent environmental histories o Mars.To get to the mound, the Curiosity rover will land on a fatterpart o the crater and careully work its way upward, layer bylayer. Along the way, Curiosity will traverse over sedimentsormed in the wetter and warmer environment o early Marsto sediments ormed as the planet’s environment transi-tioned to the cold dry Mars o today.
MSL PAYLOAD
SCIENCE PAYLOADRemote SensingMastcam
(M. Malin, MSSS)—Color and telephoto imaging,video, atmospheric opacity
ChemCam
(R. Wiens, LANL/CNES)—Chemical composition;remote micro-imaging
Contact Instruments (Arm)MAHLI
(K. Edgett, MSSS)—Hand-lens color imaging
APXS
(R. Gellert, U. Guelph, Canada)—Chemical composition
Analytical Laboratory (Rover Body)SAM
(P. Mahay, GSFC/CNES)—Chemical and isotopiccomposition, including organics
CheMin
(D. Blake, ARC)—Mineralogy
Environmental CharacterizationMARDI
(M. Malin, MSSS)—Descent imaging
REMS
(J. Gómez-Elvira, CAB, Spain)—Meteorology/UV 
RAD
(D. Hassler, SwRI)—High-energy radiation
DAN
(I. Mitroanov, IKI, Russia)—Subsurace hydrogen
ENGINEERING PAYLOADEntry Descent & Landing SensorsMEDLI
(F. McNeil Cheatwood, LANL)—Measures perormanceo the MSL heatshield and atmospheric conditions duringentry and descent at Mars
CURIOSITY 
INSTRUMENTS
The Next Mars Rover
Landing-Site Geology 
NP-2012-03-850-HQ
ChemCamSAMChemMinMastcamREMSDANMARDIMAHLIAPXSBrushDrill/SievesScoopRAD
For more information about Gale crater go to:www.nasa.gov/mslhttp://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/videos

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