Mars rover on the way: live “blogging”

August 5, 2012 • 10:22 pm

This is the first time I’ve ever woken up to do a post, but I’m watching the Mars lander. At 12:22 AM Central time (US), all is well.

12:26 AM: Guided entry started

12:29: Parachute deployed

12:31: Parachute jettisoned; powered descent beginning.  All still ok.

12:32: TOUCHDOWN!!!! Delirium in the control room—years of effort vindicated!

12:34: Pictures are being broadcast, though I can’t quite make out what is being shown. Ah, now I can; the rover’s wheel is resting on the Martian surface.

Two live pictures from Curiosity. It’s resting on the Martian surface and you can see the horizon as a curvature in the right-hand photo, as well as a wheel of the rover Curiosity (lower right).  I believe the left-hand photo was taken before the dust had settled.

How can anyone have watched this and think that science and scientists are cold and unfeeling? What an emotional moment, to have labored so long to achieve such a success.  And this is just the beginning: now we’ll begin getting data about what things are like on Mars.

This tired but excited boy is going back to bed.  Those still watching, please keep posting as new information or photos come in.

Goodnight!

69 thoughts on “Mars rover on the way: live “blogging”

  1. A picture with resolution sufficient to distinguish individual particles of dust are being beamed to us in real time from another planet. NASA landed a spacecraft from Earth on a different planet at the exact time they planned for. Pay attention, Delta Airlines.

  2. A bunch of monkeys managed to send a device 350 million miles and land on another world. Frickin’ amazing.

  3. Who reads Newton any more? That old myth has been relegated to the dustbin of histo… wait, you said it landed? Never mind.

  4. Instead of Obama’s science adviser giving an interview from NASA, he should have Joe Biden there . . . to remind the taxpayers that this is a big fuckin’ deal.

    (pardon the language)

      1. “Nobody’s going to begrudge…”? Just wait. They will. Probably already have… “It cost too much! It’s taking pictures of gravel! It’s a cynical attempt take people minds off of the President’s failed economic policies!”

        1. If the landing had failed, you can be sure that we’d be hearing about how it was a major failure for President Obama. Now I figure we’ll hear about how it was a success in spite of his failed economic policies. And he’s a muslin, too!

    1. +1

      A big benefit of science is that it makes you feel so amazing sometimes you want to cry. Even when you had nothing to do with anything that assisted the project.

      1. Oh, hell yes. Go us!

        Creatures like us lofted this improbable robot across millions of miles for the sake of our curiosity. That says something wonderful about our kind.

  5. Congratulations to NASA from this excited Aussie! Now we have to convince the world, that this is more fun than war.

  6. This was beautiful – thanks so much. If it wasn’t for this blog I might have missed this amazing event.

    1. Me too. I was confused about the time of the landing and just happened to drop by. Thanks for getting up to post!

  7. Outrageous!
    Yeah, who reads Newton anymore? 😉
    I wonder if we can find some complex organic molecules on Mars? 1st the Higg Boson and now Rover!
    Woohoo!!

  8. Wow what a buzz! Its great, so wonderful, and we can all enjoy this together.
    “They” should award an special Olympic medal for the Curiosity team.

    1. Yes, indeed!!!

      All those steps, the parachute deployment, the heat shield, the sky crane…really, awesome!

  9. Great you are up so early on Monday!!

    I watched the last 30 minutes from JPL-NASA.

    It was a great scene, well done.

    Total success!! Images are up, from the camera on Curiosity!! Web sites crashed, but they’re back up.

  10. Huzzaha and congratulations to all of the personnel of NASA, JPL and the scientists and engineers that made all of this possible. Also congratulations to the deep space communications bases around the globe that facilitate these wonderful events. It take more than a village, it takes a planet. 🙂

  11. From Cape Town, South Africa – well done NASA! What an incredible accomplishmwnt by your Scientists. Now for some remarable insights into the history of that planet.
    From our part of the world we hope to shed more light on the beginnings of Universe with the development of the Square Kilometer Array Radio Telescope project in our Karoo region – a remote and sparsely populated area several hours drive from here.
    We live in exciting times!

    1. What does it look like? An anonymous aluminium box.
      What does it do ? … (I can’t tell because my router has just gone down the Swannee) The instrument package is described here. Most of the instruments are geological / mineralogical. For volatiles there’s a GC, an MS, and a laser spectrometer for measuring gas compositions. (GC = Gas Chromatograph ; separates components of a mixture, many of which can be identified. MS = mass spectrometer, separates components differently, many of which can be identified. The laser spectrometer deploys a third identification technique, without separation of the gas sample into components. With three analytical techniques in use, most plausible components should be identified by at least two techniques (for cross-checking).
      And my ISP has gone down again.
      There are mineralogical instruments that are mounted on booms which have some organic capability too, but with my ISP going up and down … or is it my router?

  12. I was listening to their post landing stats. It is mind-boggling to me that some primates on Earth are able to record the speed of a vehicle they launched from Earth and landed on another planet so accurately as to be within a hundred thousandths of a meter per second. If I’m within a few miles per hour accuracy in my car, I’m happy as a clam.

  13. I watched it with the NASA iPad app (very good quality broadcast).
    Wonderful news so far.
    On a side note, it’s nice to see so many women there. Quite a long way since the Apollo mission control room.

  14. Will really enjoy watching the science data start to pour in.

    At 70 yoa, I feel privileged to be enjoying another homo success!

    Go Darwin!!!

    1. It’s pay back for War of the Worlds. Let this send a message to the universe: if you invade us, even in a fictional radio broadcast, we will return the courtesy.

  15. Well, Administrator Bolden went “off script,” as he put it, and indulged in a bit of horn-tooting about “American leadership.”

    All praise and honor and guh-lory to the U.S. Again, there are other humans involved.

    Then the White House science advisor: “Long live American curiosity.” As if there is no other curiosity?

    As with individuals, so with nations. Does praise of oneself not sound a bit better coming from others?

    Am I out of line expecting a little humility from mah fellow Amuricuns?

    Anyway it’s an election year, and Obama sure wouldn’t want Romney to think he had any possible basis for accusing him of somehow “apologizing” here too.

    1. Remember, there’s a political game that comes with science; namely, they’re spending our tax dollars. A little back-patting about the greatness of the country paying the bill goes a long way to make people not all that grumpy about spending a few billion dollars to land things on other planets when we’re facing an economic situation that is ousting tons and tons of people from their homes.

      When you’re reporting to people what you’ve spent their money on, it doesn’t do to be so bleh about it in the process . . . especially if you want said people to keep paying the bill.

    2. “Curiosity” is more playful and less bombastic than the names given its immediate predecessors, “Spirit” and “Opportunity”.

        1. It’s very subtle, but I can imagine a political campaign centered on returning a people’s spirit, or renewing opportunity, but I can’t imagine one centered on bolstering curiosity. And I suspect that the notion of dubbing this one Curiosity would not have flown in the previous administration (even aside from providing an opening for Curious George jokes). Maybe that’s reading too much into it, but that’s my take on it.

          1. I think you’re reading too much into it. (I say that as someone who remains angered by the previous administration’s jingoism.)

  16. The press conference reveals that the Spanish built Curiosity’s high gain antenna. Try as I might, that does not offend my delicate American sensibility.

  17. I’m sick of all these earth vehicles clogging up our roads as if it wasn’t hard enough to get to work during rush hour:-(

  18. Having read commentary here and on other sites, I have yet to see anyone explicitly point out the elephant in the room: The remarkable Odyssey mission and successful touchdown was made possible ONLY due to the science education that prior generations of government and its citizen benefactors (i.e., taxpayers) invested in our youth, and in sustenance of space exploration programs that would seem, at first glance, to serve no useful purpose.

    But it’s that second glance that matters. Seeing the joy and tears of almost all at JPL and reading celebratory posts such as those here (not surprising) and elsewhere- and a propos of something, having recently returned from some meetings in Austin, wherein I took an evening to watch the bats take flight and the humans line up 2-4 deep along the bridge that the bats call home– I take great comfort and satisfaction in knowing that the thirst for knowledge and a deep respect for the scientific endeavor remains alive and well in the USA.

    Who knew?

  19. Fantastic! Mars and space sure have it over drones. Come on MR, Pres, aim our dollars & energy towards science, knowledge, not killing and death

  20. I had NASA TV’s live coverage going on my IPad, fell asleep to the quiet tones of the commentary during the lead-up to the landing, and was woken up by the cheers erupting in the mission-support lab. The first and second photos sent by the rover were thrilling, but it was even more fun watching the scores of engineers and others in the room hug each other, grinning and glowing with happiness. Since every one of them wanted to hug every other one of them, it seemed, the hugging and grinning went on for 10-15 minutes. It was like being at the best party ever!

  21. Truly amazing, but unfortunately I could neither watch it on TV nor online. Bugger!

    On another note, watched the 100m final and a thought struck me

    Watching the Olympics I was struck by something; the physical advantage Usain bolt had over his competitors.

    Usain Bolt is 1.96m tall, ways in at 94kg and won the 100m final in 9.63s, and he did so lazily knowing he had the ability to take in the field. His world record time was 9.58s set i Berlin in August 2009.

    Second place went to Yohan Blake, 1.8m and 76kg in 9.75s, and he worked. He was still 0.12s behind Usain and is 16cm shorter.

    Third was Justin Blake 1.83m and 79kg in a time of 9.79, 0.16s behind Usain and is 13cm shorter.

    Fourth was Tyson Gay, 1.8m and 75kg in 9.8s

    To beat Usain we will need some-one at least as tall

  22. Watched the whole landing live. Was in tears. And I’m not even American. Those engineers are just freaking awesome.

  23. I can’t believe you guys are all falling for another Hollywood-produced NASA hoax. I mean, why are there no stars in the sky in these photos?

  24. I watched it streaming from NASA TV on my MacBook, playing through my TV. I was flipping between the landing and the Olympics gymnastics. It was interesting to compare the elation of the NASA team after 8 years of hard work, with the utter dejection of McKayla Maroney when she failed to win the gold medal for her vault. She’s young, and I suspect she’d fallen for the hype that was telling her (and us, via the NBC commentators) she was a shoo-in for the top place, to the point that she felt entitled to the gold. She didn’t seem to take failure (if being the second best in the world can be called failure) very graciously, and could barely bring herself to acknowledge the gold and bronze medallists. I hope she matures to the point where she can react to others’ success a little more sportingly, like the way that British favorite Rebecca Adlington did when (15-year-old!) Katie Ledecky beat her handily in the 800m freestyle, hugging her immediately after the race and telling her, “Wow, you were amazing!”

    Meanwhile, back on NASA TV it was so heartwarming to see the joy on the faces of the people in the control center (though of course there were hundreds, if not thousands of contributors not on screen whose role was just as important). It was great to see the low-res images so quickly, but I thought I’d read somewhere that there’d be video for the second half of the descent, once the heat shield was ejected. Oh well, looking forward to more pics as they roll out the various subsystems.

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