Support our local merchants and businesses; the tax dollars they generate keep us going. See below for a current listing of Resident Rewards!
Testing for the JPL-managed Mars Science Laboratory or MSL project included suspending a full-scale engineering model of the MSL rover from a helicopter and flying pre-planned flight trajectories over Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards to simulate the rover's descent stage carrying the rover to the surface of Mars.This artist's concept from an animation depicts Curiosity, the rover to be launched in 2011 by NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, as it is being lowered by the mission's rocket-powered descent stage during a critical moment of the "sky crane" landing in 2012. "The shorter trajectory is optimal for keeping both orbiters in view of Curiosity all the way to touchdown on the surface of Mars.Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech › Larger image Planners of NASA's next Mars mission have selected a flight schedule that will use favorable positions for two currently orbiting NASA Mars orbiters to obtain maximum information during descent and landing. The longer trajectory allows direct communication to Earth all the way to touchdown." The simplicity of direct-to-Earth communication from Curiosity during landing has appeal to mission planners, in comparison to relying on communications relayed via NASA's Mars Odyssey, which has been orbiting Mars since 2001, and NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, in operation since 2006.After an unsuccessful attempted Mars landing in 1999 without definitive information on the cause of the mishap, NASA put a high priority on communication during subsequent Mars landings."It is important to capture high-quality telemetry to allow us to learn what happens during the entry, descent and landing, which is arguably the most challenging part of the mission," said Fuk Li, manager of NASA's Mars Exploration Program at JPL.