Curious About Curiosity
August 22, 2012
On August 6, NASA landed the rover Curiosity on the planet Mars's surface. Mars is known as the Red Planet because the iron oxide on the planet gives it a reddish appearance. Curiosity will do scientific tests to gather information about the minerals on the land surface of Mars. The rover will also take pictures of Mars so that scientists will be able to learn more about its landscape. The pictures that it has been sending back have been really cool to look at, too.
On NASA's website, there is a photo gallery with pictures of the scour mark created from Curiosity's landing, a "rock star" that it will do testing on with a laser, and a mosaic of Mount Sharp, which is Curiosity's eventual destination.
Curiosity is the 3rd land rover to go to Mars in NASA's quest to learn more about the Red Planet. The first rover was Spirit, launched on June 10, 2003. It survived until 2010, the last time NASA received any communication from Spirit. The second rover, Opportunity, was launched on July 7, 2003, and it is still active today. The latest report from NASA is that Opportunity is currently moving around the rim of the Endeavour Crater on the north end of Cape York.
For more information about Mars and the Inner Planets, look into these books:
Mars by Linda T. Elkins-Tanton
The Inner Solar System: The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars by Erik Gregersen
The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets by Alan Boss
A Passion for Mars: Intrepid Explorers of the Red Planet by Andrew Chaikin
For more information about robots, here are some books:
Red Bridge Branch