07 August 2012

NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity Says: "F*CK You, Solar"

The latest NASA Mars rover, Curiosity, is a monster in comparison to earlier Mars explorer robots. Thus it has a monster-sized appetite for energy which solar power simply could not guarantee. Thus NASA Curiosity opted for nuclear power -- the smart choice for reliable energy.
The nuclear generator delivers both heat and 110 watts of steady electric power from an array of iridium capsules holding a ceramic form of plutonium dioxide. The heat is piped through the Curiosity carried by liquid Freon. Thermoelectric devices on the generator convert the heat into electricity with no moving parts. Idaho National Laboratory, which designed and tested the energy system, says it can operate for years. _TechnologyReview

On 6 August, Nasa's Curiosity rover landed safely on the surface of Mars, following a terrifying landing sequence that involved a parachute and a rocket-powered skycrane.

Engineers at Nasa received a first photo from the rover -- showing its wheel through a dusty lens cap -- mere minutes after touchdown. Now, 24 hours later, more media of the dramatic landing sequence has emerged. _Wired.co.uk

More: Background on the design process for the software that controlled Curiosity's complex landing sequence

More: Idaho Samizdat Nuke Notes provides more useful information and links

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Blogger J said...

Amazing. Where is the person who said "we" dont go to the moon anymore because we cant? Time to recant, time to repent.

Tuesday, 07 August, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

Right. Robots in space make a lot of sense, as a first wave of development. As space robot designs improve we can send them out in swarms to build human habitats, and stockpile space resources and fuel for human use.

We hope that the recent influx of energy and capital into new private space enterprises such as SpaceX and Planetary Resources will trigger a long series of human waves into space -- for exploration, resource development, and eventually colonisation. But it makes sense for robots to lead the way.

Wednesday, 08 August, 2012  
Blogger Matt M said...

Wait until the AEC sets up an office on Mars. Then, poor Curiosity is screwed!

Wednesday, 08 August, 2012  

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