Curiosity Rover Launches to Mars

Article written: 26 Nov , 2011
Updated: 12 Jan , 2016
by
Video

The Mars Science Laboratory is now on an 8.5 month trip to Mars! Watch the successful launch above, and our on-site team of Ken Kremer, Alan Walters, David Gonazales and Jason Rhian will provide all the launch details and more in subsequent, fact- and photo-filled articles.

Below is an incredible video of when the MSL spacecraft separated from the Centaur rocket:

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19 Responses

  1. Member
    Anonymous says

    Yassssss…. success! He Grunts, then sighs… then smiles. There’s a little less Plutonium on the planet~

  2. Member
    Anonymous says

    Yassssss…. success! He Grunts, then sighs… then smiles. There’s a little less Plutonium on the planet~

  3. Torbjörn Larsson says

    Phew! If it gets onto the transfer orbit, the next high tension moment is at least a new type of “do or die” sequence. I would hate for an ordinary launch to be a dud.

    So is it officially “Curiosity” now, or have I misunderstood the launch tradition?

    • msgfruit says

      No such thing as an “ordinary” launch

      • Torbjörn Larsson says

        They are all individuals in some sense due to the loads and launch characteristics.

        But for mature launchers there is a nice failure statistics distribution, so there is certainly a generic, um, “mature” process here. Beyond the fancy words this means you come to expect these to come off nicely (in most cases).

        Hence I think of a launch of a mature launcher as “ordinary” to the degree I hadn’t imagined anyone wouldn’t. =D

        I was more tense about this particular load to fail. Last time that happened was with Kepler, another “first” of its type. Curiosity is the first to look at organics with an environmentally informed type of experiment. (That is, avoiding the problem with thermally activated oxidizers.) I am excited!

        “Curiosity” or “MSL”: I guess the silence on this matter means the awkward label “Curiosity” isn’t really accepted by the in-group. We’ll see who wins out, I am guessing the media will take to “Curiosity” and push it through.

  4. Torbjörn Larsson says

    Phew! If it gets onto the transfer orbit, the next high tension moment is at least a new type of “do or die” sequence. I would hate for an ordinary launch to be a dud.

    So is it officially “Curiosity” now, or have I misunderstood the launch tradition?

  5. Torbjörn Larsson says

    Phew! If it gets onto the transfer orbit, the next high tension moment is at least a new type of “do or die” sequence. I would hate for an ordinary launch to be a dud.

    So is it officially “Curiosity” now, or have I misunderstood the launch tradition?

  6. i would rather be launching missions to asteroids . . . land on, maneuver them etc! Mars is a dead end! Asteroids may be our end!

    • Torbjörn Larsson says

      We will do both I think. Maybe SpaceX wants to shortcircuit the Stepping Stones exploration mode, but there have been fairly robust motivations given for such an approach:

      “A human mission to the moons of Mars will need capabilities such as heavy-lift launch, tele-operation of rovers from orbit, operating on a low-gravity body, long term cryo-propellant storage, and maintaining crew health during long term deep space exposure. These capabilities will be developed and demonstrated through a series of Stepping Stones missions.”

      [Curiosity will, among other things, measure radiation levels on the surface of Mars as a preliminary to human missions.]

      Mars is a dead end! Asteroids may be our end!

      Both of those are unlikely outcomes.

      – Mars had all the same possibilities for life as Earth, at an earlier age to boot expressing how generic such environments is to terrestrials.

      The speed with which Earth arrived at a biosphere shows that too is easy. It would be unlikely for Mars to not have had life at some point.

      The question is how easy it is to get to the evidence for or against expected life, either in the past or possibly as surviving to date.

      In either case, if it succeeds to get such evidence, we will be better informed. That is why we attempt this.

      – Impactors are statistical killers. Those that would be large enough to erase civilization on Earth doesn’t happen with a frequency that match a species lifetime of millions or tens of millions of years at the most.

      And we don’t know how old a planet wide civilization can become yet. Those that weren’t global had lifetimes of thousands of years at most, not millions. Relatively good percentage considering our own species age of some ~ 0.2 million years, but not yet comparable.

      So I would forget the scare scenario. It isn’t empirically justified nor a sound basis for decisions.

      Instead, impactors can be the 3d global disaster scenario that we can prevent, and the first ones that were prevented was man made or associated with our civilization (flu and SARS pandemics; diminishing the ozone layer). It would be moral to try and it would be awesome to succeed, in preventing the first natural disaster scenario ever!

      [Because there are certainly more acute threats to take that positive energy to and make it work. (Glances at earth quakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and volcanoes. And AGW, natch.)]

  7. Gore Gogore says

    I`m very happy to see something successfull for a change , made in the good-old american way. Next tension moment for me will be the rocket-crane.

  8. Anonymous says

    It is good to see that the “easy part” of this worked out. The next easy part is the 8.5 month journey to Mars, and then comes the hard part; landing on Mars.

    LC

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