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

Ryan Anderson

MSL One Year from Launch

Posted by Ryan Anderson

15-09-2008 21:20 CDT

Topics: mission status, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), conference report

This article originally appeared on Ryan Anderson's "The Martian Chronicles" blog and is reposted here with permission.

One year from today, the Mars Science Laboratory will launch. It seems fitting that the workshop during which we choose the final three possible landing sites begins today. The whole process blows my mind. I will be sitting in a conference room this week with dozens of Mars scientists, poring over data of unprecedented detail for seven locations on Mars. We have images of the sites of such high resolution that we can count the individual rocks on the ground. We can map the composition of layers of sedimentary rock only a few meters thick. We understand martian weather enough to predict the wind conditions over the landing sites and consider how that will affect the landing process. We understand these locations well enough that we can debate whether the environment in which they formed was conducive to preserving evidence of microbial life.

ULA Atlas V with Boeing CST-100

NASA / ULA

ULA Atlas V with Boeing CST-100
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V blasts off with a Boeing CST-100 in this rendering of a future launch.

It is going to be a grueling and fascinating process to choose the final three sites. And then, one year from now, the rocket goes up. It will travel for almost a year, across forty million miles of empty space, and land in a circle twenty kilometers across.

And then the real fun begins. I can't wait.

 
See other posts from September 2008

 

Or read more blog entries about: mission status, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), conference report

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

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

Blog Search

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.

Donate

Featured Images

LightSail 2 and Prox-1
Bill Nye at LightSail 2 pre-ship review
LightSail 2 pre-ship review team photo
Swirling maelstrom
More Images

Featured Video

Class 9: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

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!