Straton Industries Assists NASA JPL as Supplier on the Mars Space Laboratory’s “Curiosity” Rover. Successfully landing on Mars – August 5, 2012.
The Next NASA Mars Mission is scheduled for August 2020.
Straton Industries participated in building the precision machined components used in the drilling arm of the rover Curiosity of the The Mars Science Laboratory.
The mission sent a 2nd generation rover with unprecedented research tools to study the early environmental history of Mars.
The relative positions of Earth and Mars are favorable for flights to Mars only a few weeks every two years.
The advanced rover is one of the most technologically challenging interplanetary missions ever designed. New technologies were used to adjust its flight while descending through the Martian atmosphere, and to set the rover on the surface by lowering it on a tether from a hovering descent stage. Advanced research instruments make up a science payload 10 times the mass of instruments on NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers. The 2012, Curiousity Mars Science Laboratory is engineered to drive longer distances over rougher terrain than previous rovers. It employs a new surface propulsion system.
Rigorous testing of components and systems was essential to develop such a complex mission and prepare it for launch. Tests during the middle phases of development resulted in decisions to re-engineer key parts of the spacecraft.
The mission will explore a Mars site for a two year period where images had been taken by NASA’s orbiting spacecraft to indicate there were wet conditions in the past. The rover will check for evidence of whether ancient Mars environments had conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and preserving evidence of that life if it existed there.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Mars Science Laboratory project for the Science Mission Directorate.
Please read Article posted by NASA after the August 5, 2012 successful landing:
NASA Lands Car-Size Rover Beside Martian Mountain
Article by Dwayne Brown of NASA HQ /Guy Webster & D.C. Agle, NASA JPL
PASADENA, Calif. – August 5, 2012- NASA’s most advanced Mars rover Curiosity has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Sunday to end a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation.
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft that carried Curiosity succeeded in every step of the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars, including the final severing of the bridle cords and flyaway maneuver of the rocket backpack.
“Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity, the most sophisticated rover ever built, is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars — or if the planet can sustain life in the future,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “This is an amazing achievement, made possible by a team of scientists and engineers from around the world and led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory. President Obama has laid out a bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030′s, and today’s landing marks a significant step toward achieving this goal.”
Curiosity landed at 10:32 p.m. PDT Aug. 5, (1:32 a.m. EDT Aug. 6) near the foot of a mountain three miles tall and 96 miles in diameter inside Gale Crater. During a nearly two-year prime mission, the rover will investigate whether the region ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life.
“The Seven Minutes of Terror has turned into the Seven Minutes of Triumph,” said NASA Associate Administrator for Science John Grunsfeld. “My immense joy in the success of this mission is matched only by overwhelming pride I feel for the women and men of the mission’s team.”
Curiosity returned its first view of Mars, a wide-angle scene of rocky ground near the front of the rover. More images are anticipated in the next several days as the mission blends observations of the landing site with activities to configure the rover for work and check the performance of its instruments and mechanisms.
“Our Curiosity is talking to us from the surface of Mars,” said MSL Project Manager Peter Theisinger of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. “The landing takes us past the most hazardous moments for this project, and begins a new and exciting mission to pursue its scientific objectives.”
Confirmation of Curiosity’s successful landing came in communications relayed by NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter and received by the Canberra, Australia, antenna station of NASA’s Deep Space Network.
Curiosity carries 10 science instruments with a total mass 15 times as large as the science payloads on the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Some of the tools are the first of their kind on Mars, such as a laser-firing instrument for checking elemental composition of rocks from a distance. The rover will use a drill and scoop at the end of its robotic arm to gather soil and powdered samples of rock interiors, then sieve and parcel out these samples into analytical laboratory instruments inside the rover.
To handle this science toolkit, Curiosity is twice as long and five times as heavy as Spirit or Opportunity. The Gale Crater landing site places the rover within driving distance of layers of the crater’s interior mountain. Observations from orbit have identified clay and sulfate minerals in the lower layers, indicating a wet history.
The mission is managed by JPL for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL.
For more information on the mission, visit: