Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Face-to-face with Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

04-04-2011 16:54 CDT

Topics: personal stories, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity today for a face-to-face visit with one of the biggest celebrities in my world: Curiosity, the next Mars rover. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory gave members of the media a chance to suit up in the white coveralls known as "bunny suits" and enter the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, the clean room in which Curiosity is being assembled and prepared for launch.

That was awesome.

There's nothing to compare with acutally being able to stand next to a spacecraft and know that this thing is going to be crawling across the surface of another, distant world one day. And while I've been becoming more and more comfortable with the size of Curiosity, it's still amazing to stand next to this thing and appreciate just how huge it is. I was wearing rather tall heels (something I like to do when I know I'm likely to be on camera with Bill Nye, because it equalizes our heights), and even with that help I could only barely see over the top of the rover deck, and that head towered way way above me.

Anyway, I have a ton of pictures and video and notes to go through, so this post will just be a little tease with a couple of pictures, with a promise of more to come later this week.

First, here's me mugging with the rover. I was here!!!

Emily and Curiosity
Emily and Curiosity
Members of the media were given a rare opportunity to suit up and enter the clean room in which Curiosity was being prepared for its trip to Mars on April 4, 2011.

Here's one that Doug Ellison took from the viewing gallery of all of us Planetary Society folks:

Planetary Society team with Curiosity

Doug Ellison

Planetary Society team with Curiosity
Emily Lakdawalla stretches to get a good view of the top of Curiosity's deck, while Bill Nye interviews and Mat Kaplan films rover integration lead Peter Illsley.

And here's an up-close-and-personal photo of Curiosity's "face." There's a total of seven cameras on this head -- the two different-sized, rectangular eyes of the MastCam (the main color camera), two circular eyes on each side for the Navcam (unlike Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity has a fully redundant Navcam system, two complete sets in case one set fails); and the top eye is for ChemCam, the laser-powered remote mineral analyzer.

Face to face with Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla

Face to face with Curiosity

More details to come!

 
See other posts from April 2011

 

Or read more blog entries about: personal stories, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Essential Advocacy

Our Advocacy Program provides each Society member a voice in the process.

Funding is critical. The more we have, the more effective we can be, translating into more missions, more science, and more exploration.

Donate

Featured Images

NGC 4100
The Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405)
LDN 604 and GGD 30
Schiaparelli backshell and parachute landing location from HiRISE in color
More Images

Featured Video

The Planetary Post - Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!