How to get to Mars
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#2. "RE: And this is ....." | In response to Reply # 1
gpoole Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004Wed 12-Sep-12 04:15 AM
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#4. "RE: And this is ....." | In response to Reply # 0
Yep - that is a very good and informative video. However, please be aware that it was from 2004 when the Spirit rover was landed on Mars (followed a few weeks later by its twin Opportunity). The final phase of the landing - the airbag "bounce" - was possible only because of the relatively small size and weight of Spirit: about 400 lbs.
The more recent landing of Curiosity on Mars used a different final phase for the landing. Curiosity is about the size of a small SUV and weighs about 2,000 lbs.; it has a lot more capability built-in than the earlier, smaller rovers. In the final stage of its landing it was lowered to the Mars surface on a 20-meter cable from a rocket platform that was almost hovering at the time. After releasing Curiosity the rocket platform then flew a short distance away so it would not crash on top of the rover. It was an incredible technical achievement that had to be performed completely autonomously because of the long delay in getting radio signals from Mars to Earth and back. For more information check out NASA's Mars Science Laboratory webpage: