Sunday, August 5, 2012

Landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars

After a journey of just over 8 months, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Mission is about to reach Mars and in a few hours will attempt to land the rover Curiosity on the surface of the planet. At 900kg (the size of a small car) it is the largest Mars Rover yet. It is equipped with a plethora of scientific instruments. Its objectives are to (source Wikipedia):
  1. Determine whether Mars could ever have supported life
  2. Study the climate of Mars
  3. Study the geology of Mars
  4. Plan for a human mission to Mars
I particularly like #4.
Fingers crossed. Let's hope everything goes according to plan (see video).

A few thoughts. The cost of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission is at about US$2.5 billion.
The defence budget of the US for 2012 was US$711 billion.
For the same year NASA's budget was US$17.8 billion.

Imagine how much more amazing work could be done if just US$50 billion was cut from the defence budget and allocated to NASA.

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