SAM | Paul Mahaffy | Goddard Space Laboratory | Instrumentation | Curiosity

SAM | Paul Mahaffy | Goddard Space Laboratory | Instrumentation | Curiosity

Constructed at the Goddard Space Laboratory by Paul Mahaffy and his team, SAM can analyse the chemicals found in Martian rocks.

The discovery of organic compounds on Mars would cause huge excitement right across the globe. Together with liquid water, they are regarded as essentials for life. Curiosity’s other tests will reveal whether the ancient Martian environment could have allowed life itself to form from these building blocks.

Mars Rover Landing | Joel Krajewski | Brian Portock | Adam Stelzner | Sky Crane

Mars Rover Landing | Joel Krajewski | Brian Portock | Adam Stelzner | Sky Crane

Imagine a quarterback making a pass, accurately, from California to London! That’s Brian Portock’s job on the Mars Mission Curiosity rover landing.

Joel Krajewski “To get the distance scales approximately similar, the quarterback here is throwing a pass 30 metres, 40 metres away. But Brian’s target of Mars is hundreds of millions of kilometres away. It’s similar to as if this quarterback here were throwing a football to a receiver in, say, London, and needing to hit his mark.”

Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Joel Krajewski | Brian Portock | Ann Devereaux | Adam Stelzner

Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Joel Krajewski | Brian Portock | Ann Devereaux | Adam Stelzner

Landing a billion dollar rover, on the surface of Mars is an incredibly complex challenge for NASA. Joel Krajewski, chief engineer, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains.

NASA’s engineers have never shied away from tricky landings. During the Apollo missions of the 1970s, they weren’t satisfied just to put a man on the moon. But landing a car on Mars is an entirely different proposition.

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