Curiosity Reaches The Mountain.

After two years and about 5 1/2 miles (9km), curiosity has reached the base of Mount Sharp.  This has to be the slowest road trip ever.  But considering all the scientists stopping the rover and saying “Look over there!”, “Do science here!”, “Drill Baby Drill!”…well maybe not the last one. (It’s a joke people, I don’t want any comments!)

'Mount Sharp' on Mars compared to three big mountains on earth

Anyway, with only 3.4 miles to the top, Curiosity still has a long way to go.

3rovers

Actually, the numbers aren’t that bad for Curiosity.  Spirit only went 4.8 miles while it was still actively roving, and  Opportunity has only gone about 25 miles in 11 years.  Curiosity is a dragster in comparison.

Curiosity is going to be at the base of Mt. Sharp for a while because of the interesting geological strata that is there.  It makes finding about the Martian geological history a lot easier than drilling into the rock.  Samples will still be taken and analyzed, but Curiosity is in it for the long haul.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Curiosity Turns 1!

It seems like yesterday the Curiosity was a bouncing….well free falling…baby spacecraft waiting to hatch, er…be dropped stork-like on to surface of Mars.

 

Although not as old as its bouncing, literally, cousins Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity has not been idle.

Curiosity, which is the size of a car, has traveled 764 yards (699 meters) in the past four weeks after finishing experiments at one location for the past six months.

Curiosity is heading to the base of Mount Sharp, to perform more experiments before heading up the mountain (about 3 mile or 5.5 km high).  It is expected to take the better part of a year to get to the final point of the scheduled mission.

However, if Curiosity is anything like its cousins, data collection will continue well beyond the original program (with sufficient budget of course).  I mean really, after traveling millions of miles, and basically being dropped off, this rover should last for a long time.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Duck!

If Curiosity’s problem with its A-side computer due to high energy cosmic radiation weren’t bad enough, now the Sun is taking aim at the rover.

Curiosity Solar Blast

I mean really.  First there was the 8.5 month trip through the hazards of the solar system where micro-meteors and dust abound.  Then there was the 7 minutes of terror (or hell if you were on of the mission designers).  A few glitches in the beginning, and now this.  Can’t the Universe just get along?

Solar flares and coronal mass ejections have had an impact on other Mars missions.  In 2003, an intense solar flare knocked out the radiation detector on the Odyssey orbiter.  Which is kind of ironic when you think about it.

However, not to fear.  Curiosity is bracing for the bad space weather headed toward it while Opportunity, the little rover that could, and both space orbiters will continue normal operations.

Speaking of bad weather.  It is a new moon weekend for me.  I hope the weather clears up today so that I can get some good images of PANSTARRS early in the evening.  Hopefully, you will make time on the 12th to go out and look at the Moon/comet conjunction.  Take pictures with whatever you have and send me a copy.  I would love to see how it goes.

Maybe my fellow blogger over at Alien Shores will consider making this his photo challenge of the week!