The Union Recorder


August 14, 2012

Curiosity’s Curious Landing



Seconds later, we had an image of a rover wheel on the Martian Surface.

The first images from Mars seemed grainy and blurry, but that’s just because the camera lenses still had their protective clear lens covers on. Once those popped off – after a safe time during which the dust settled – we got the clearest images of Mars yet. All of the lower rover cameras, those that are close to the ground, had those dust covers, since unlike all previous rovers, Curiosity was actually “outside” during the landing.

Past rovers all had issues with dust accumulation on their camera lenses and solar panels, Curiosity won’t have those problems as much – the high quality camera lenses on the upright mast all have baffles – kind of like a visor on a baseball cap – and when not in use the cameras will be pointed downwards, Curiosity will essentially be hanging her head, so that far less dust will get stuck on the lenses.

Last Wednesday I was in a teleconference with Aaron Sengstacken, who is the camera systems engineer for Curiosity, and of course he knows everything about those cameras and can literally talk about them for days. As a systems engineer it’s his job to make sure that the cameras (which were built by outside contractors) work with all the rover software and perform as designed, so there’s a lot of software development and coding needed. He mentioned that one of the reasons that they don’t install wipers or blowers is because the more mechanics you add to a rover, the more things can go wrong. And wouldn’t you hate having a grain of sand getting stuck in your wiper blade during the first week and either scratch the lens or worse yet – keep the blade stuck in front of the lens permanently? You can’t send a repair technician up there, after all.

Text Only
AP Video
Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
NDN Video
Facebook Is Officially A Mobile Company 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid