Curiosity: Seven Minutes of Terror

Now I don’t know if this title is alluding to the fact that the men and women on the ground were terrified the Curiosity would not land properly, or the feelings of the Curiosity itself or those aboard, had there been people aboard, but regardless, the descent of the Curiosity was quite terrifying, as this infographic shows.

From approaching at 13,000 mph to the final soft landing, there is a lot of gear required. There are cameras and antenna everywhere to monitor the descent, and signals it will use to know when to expel various equipment. It has a heat shield for entry into the atmosphere which will separate at 370 mph. It has a 100 pound parachute that will be deployed at 900 mph. It even has equipment that will attach to the surface of mars and lower it slowly the rest of the way, and then blown off to detach. There cannot be any chance of damage.

What do we use here on Earth that has this many precautions? What happens when a hair dryer is used for a long time? What happens when we cook something and it burns, filling the air with smoke? How could we use some of this technology to make other things, such as cars safer? Do you believe this is cost effective technology to keep a loved one safe?


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