NASA’s Curiosity Rover has spent a week on Mars and while it has yet to even start its actual mission there this project has produced some of the most exciting and visceral moments out of the space program in recent memory.
For those of you who stayed up late to watch the Entry, Decent and Landing (EDL) you know it was an exciting night. Watching live as the JPL and the audience lived through the 7 Minutes of Terror we were all biting our nails waiting and waiting to hear back that Curiosity landed safe and sound. Thankfully the Mars Odyssey was able to get into position in time to relay the first picture of Mars from the newly landed rover.
The next day we were gifted with a picture of the MSL mid decent with its parachute deployed.
And even a picture of the aftermath of the EDL phase. Showing all the individual components of the entry vehicle spread across the surface of Mars.
After the landing happened NASA passed over the area to see how close they were to the projected landing zone. It cannot be overstated the precision with which the NASA team was able to land this rover.
After a quick OTA update (if you think updating your smartphone is nerve wracking imagine patching a $2.5 billion device with no way of un-bricking it). We were greeted with some color HD pictures of the surface of mars that makes is seem like it could be right from our backyard.
The latest is a stitched together Panorama
All of this has been so much fun to watch. NASA has done a great job of showcasing the amazing work being done. In the coming years robotic exploration is going to be the standard. While we wait for the resurgence of a manned space program the work done by NASA and the JPL during this project is truly inspirational.