In late November, NASA’s Curiosity, the world’s biggest extraterrestrial rover, began rocketing toward Mars (see photos of the launch here) in search of any hint that the red planet might have provided a home for microscopic life. The Curiosity will eventually reach Mars in August after covering 345 million miles. Earlier this year, an artist released a rather dramatic animation depicting key moments in the mission — the voyage, the landing (don’t miss this part!), the exploration, and all of the rest. It’s another candidate for our collection of Great Science Videos.
Is anyone else concerned that the Sky Crane that is going to carefully place the rover on the surface only has 4 “legs”. It appears to have two rockets on each leg, so are they backups, that will fire if the other one doesn’t. Wouldn’t it have been better if the sky cran was hexagonal or octagonal in shape, rather than rectangular. If one or two of the rockets didn’t work, it would not have been an issue. It could still maintain it’s balance, provided each rocket had the capacity to operate at more than 100% of what it requires, if all of them work?