Casual Friday — MSL has a snack

In the fall of 2009, NASA will launch the next generation of rover to Mars. This beast, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is the size of a Mini Cooper, will draw its energy from a nuclear power pack, and will carry a science package that will set whole new standards in sophistication.

This animation (7:27 long) shows the entry and landing of MSL, followed by sampling of a boulder on the surface.

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2 Responses to Casual Friday — MSL has a snack

  1. PhilDS says:

    From the MSL website:
    “This power source gives the mission an operating lifespan on Mars’ surface of a full martian year (687 Earth days) or more”

    I wonder how many active days the current rovers have had with solar power.

  2. Sam Wise says:

    Quite a few more (about twice that long, if memory serves). Bear in mind, though, that the MSL rover is dramatically bigger, has far more instruments, and is supposed to roll farther & faster than the MER rovers.

    The usual comparison is that the MER rovers are each about the size of a riding lawn mower, while MSL will be about the size of a Mini Cooper. You just can’t package enough solar array area to power a beast the size of MSL…

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