MEMBER ALERT: AOPA will be closing at 1:45 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 6 and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Dec. 9.
September 17, 2012
Barbara A. Schmitz
If it took you eight months to get to your destination 352 million miles away, what would be the first thing you’d do on arrival? For NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, the answer was to take a picture.
The one-ton rover touched down on Mars in early August to begin its investigation of the Red Planet. But one of the first things Curiosity did was to take a picture, a wide-angle scene of rocky ground near the front of the rover.
“This is an amazing achievement, made possible by a team of scientists and engineers from around the world and led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “President Obama has laid out a bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030s, and today’s landing marks a significant step toward achieving this goal.”
Curiosity landed at 1:32 a.m. EDT Aug. 6 near the foot of a mountain 3 miles tall and 96 miles in diameter inside Gale Crater. During a nearly two-year and $2.5 billion mission, the rover will investigate whether the region ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life.
The rover carries 10 science instruments with a total mass 15 times as large as the science payloads on the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Some of the tools are the first of their kind on Mars, such as a laser-firing instrument for checking elemental composition of rocks from a distance.
With the most dangerous part of the mission behind—the landing that engineers dubbed the “seven minutes of terror” since Curiosity needed to slow from 13,000 mph to a complete stop to land without crashing—NASA engineers first configured the rover for work before starting the mission. Follow Curiosity and its progress on Facebook and Twitter.
Pilot Youth and Introductory,
The House has passed a bill requiring the TSA to consult stakeholders, including general aviation representatives, before making major changes to security policy.
Youths ages 13 through 18 who are members of the AOPA AV8RS program can now apply for scholarships to help them achieve their aviation dreams.
NetJets has added a new safety feature to its long-range fleet: a doctor who is always in.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.