Sunday, August 5, 2012

Seven Minutes of Terror !

In November of last year, scientists launched the Mars Science Laboratory which will touch down on the surface of Mars at 12:30 CDT on August 6th – (really late Sunday nite).  The lab is a roving vehicle called Curiosity and its mission is to perform experiments to unlock the history of Mars.  Curiosity will take samples of soil, rock, and the Martian atmosphere.  The record of the planet’s climate and geology is literally recorded in the rocks and soil.
So what is the “7 minutes of terror?  The spacecraft’s final descent to Mars takes seven minutes but it takes fourteen minutes for a radio signal to travel from Mars to the earth.  By the time that scientists receive a message from Curiosity, it will have already safely arrived or have crashed on Mars seven minutes earlier.

Check out this video to see how Curiosity will descend to the surface of Mars.

Walk into class on the first day of school with written answers to these questions and earn a reward!   (This opportunity is open to all current and former students of Mrs D.)
  • What is the name of the crater where Curiosity will land?
  • What is the mass of Curiosity?
  • Where was the Mars Science Laboratory launched from?
  • Who was the Kansas 6th grader that gave Curiosity its name?