After traveling eight-and-a-half months and 352 million miles, NASA rover Curiosity landed on Mars at 5.33 GMT (1.33 EDT) this morning Aug 6.
Nasa’s Curiosity rover Specifications:
Power source: plutonium nuclear energy source (4.8 kg radioactive plutonium-238).
length: 3 m (9.8 ft)
weight: 900 kg (2,000 lb)
Payload: 10 instruments (84 kg)
Speed: 90 m (300 ft) per hour
Rover Range >20 km designed
Communications: three antennas. X band transmitter and receiver (about 400 Megaherz) + UHF Electra-Lite software-defined radio (signal delay between Mars and earth: 13 minutes, 46 seconds)
Mobility systems: 6 wheels, each with its own individual motor. The two front and two rear wheels also have individual steering motors (1 each). This steering capability allows the vehicle to turn in place, a full 360 degrees. The 4-wheel steering also allows the rover to swerve and curve, making arching turns.
Cameras: 17 cameras
The Mast Camera (MastCam) instrument includes a 100-millimeter-focal-length camera called MastCam-100 or M-100, and a 34-millimeter-focal-length camera called the MastCam-34 or M-34.
Four Pairs of Engineering Hazard Avoidance Cameras (Hazcams)
Two Pairs of Engineering Navigation Cameras (Navcams)
Arm and Hand:
Curiosity’s “arm”: Much like a human arm, the robotic arm has flexibility through three joints: the rover’s shoulder, elbow, and wrist. At the end of the arm is a turret, shaped like a cross. This turret, a hand-like structure, holds various tools that can spin through a 350-degree turning range. Arm Reach: About 7 feet (2.2 meters)
Curiosity’s “hand”: At the tip of the arm is the turret structure on which 5 devices are mounted. Two of these devices are in-situ or contact instruments known as the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). The remaining three devices are associated with sample acquisition and sample preparation functions.
Instruments: Alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS), CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence instrument), Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) (analyze organics and gases), Radiation assessment detector (RAD), Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN), Rover environmental monitoring station (REMS) (Meteorological package and an ultraviolet sensor).