How NASA's Mars Rover Will Help Humans Reach the Red Planet
When NASA's newest Mars rover, Curiosity, touches down, scientists will study its landing technology to understand how suitable it would be for sending a manned mission to Mars.
What's the Latest Development?
With just 32 days until Curiosity, NASA's newest Mars rover, is set to touch down, scientists are planning to evaluate how suitable its landing technology could be for a manned mission to the Red Planet. Curiosity will use unique landing hardware called the Sky Crane, a form of Supersonic Retro Propulsion where the same force used to lift rockets off of planets is turned around, helping to slow the vehicle as it rushes toward the Martian surface. Though the chemical processes needed for this strategy are well understood, rockets function differently at supersonic speeds and more tests are necessary to design engines that can handle that stress.
What's the Big Idea?
A meeting of the Lunar Planetary Institute convened last month to discuss other ways to land a craft on Mars, namely Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators (HIADs) and various forms of aerobraking. HIADs are better known as heat shields, "which work by using a large surface area to create enough drag through the atmosphere of a planet to slow the traveling craft to a reasonable speed." Mars' thin atmosphere, however, makes resistance much less effective. An aerobraking system called a ballute might also be used, using the air rushing past the craft to fill a tethered balloon. "The compression of the air rushing into the ballute would cause the gas to heat up, in effect creating a hot air balloon that would have similar lifting properties to those used on Earth."
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.
- Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
- Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
- Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.
- An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
- Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
- Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.
- China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
- Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
- Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.