Early on Monday morning (late Sunday evening from the US) NASA’s latest Mars rover will touchdown on the Red Planet, signalling a new era in planetary exploration. The rover in question, Curiosity, is reportedly in fine health as it approaches its destination, with all systems operating as expected and on a consistent and stable course.
Traveling at about 8,000 mph (3,576 meters per second), it will gradually increase in speed to about 13,200 mph (5,900 meters per second) by the time it reaches the top of the Martian atmosphere.
Curiosity will carry out a long-term robotic exploration of Mars, assessing whether it ever saw an environment able to support microbial lifeforms.
This car-sized machine will analyse samples taken from the soil and drilled from rocks using its onboard laboratory, hoping to detect the chemical building blocks of life (like forms of carbon) as may have existed in Martian…
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