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Mars Landing

Pete Springer/OPB

NASA’s latest space rover Curiosity successfully landed on Mars this Sunday. This latest Mars rover, comparable in size to a Mini-Cooper, is NASA’s most expensive and ambitious to-date. Unlike its predecessors Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity is large enough to hold a mobile laboratory, which will allow it gather, store and process large amounts of material as it looks for evidence of life on Mars — or at least the building blocks of it.    

One of the first images taken by NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the morning of August 6, 2012. NASA/JPL-Caltech                            

One of the first Mars images taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 The rover gracefully survived what NASA had called “seven minutes of terror,” as the landing involved the meticulous coordination of a parachute, retro rockets and a sky crane.  

Oregon State University scientists contributed to NASA’s planning of the mission. They created weather simulations of what the Mars rover might be dealing with upon landing. 

OMSI — and other museums around the country — held live watching parties for the anticipated touchdown on Sunday at 10:30 PST, while NASA featured the landing in real time on the NASA website.

What do you hope Curiosity will find on Mars? Did you watch the landing live at OMSI or online?


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