Video Credit: NASA/JPL
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, which launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last November, is currently cruising through space on a 354 million mile journey to land the Curiosity rover on the surface of the red planet in August. This week, engineers at JPL involved with the mission conducted a dress rehearsal for the vehicle’s landing, and JPL has provided a video summarizing how the test went.
Known as an Operational Readiness Test, teams at JPL practiced landing procedures and simulated all approach and landing activities that can be expected when the one-ton rover’s real landing occurs on August 6.
The Mars Science Laboratory and it’s rover Curiosity will land at the base of a 3-mile high mountain inside Gale Crater, at which point the spacecraft will begin its research mission to determine whether Mars is now, or has ever been, able to support life. Continuing with research and exploration where her sister rover’s Spirit and opportunity left off, Curiosity will study the martian geology, climate, and help lay the foundation for future manned missions to the red planet.