126 million kilometers away from the world, only a robot with the size of a small 4×4 in the cold, red density of Mars begins shortly after dawn. As with every day for six years, wait for your instructions.
At around 9:30 am on Mars, there is a message that left California about a quarter-hour before an hour: eden The 10-meter progress is 45 degrees and continues to autonomous to that point.
As you wonder, curiosity moves slowly, between 35 and 110 meters per hour, not more. Batteries and other restrictions explain the daily 100-meter journey and reach a record level of 220 meters.
Once there, the 17 cameras of the robot are photographing the environment. Her laser likes rocks. Especially attractive with an attractive stone, it stops to take a sample of several grams.
At around 17:00 pm local time, the robot would wait for NASA's three satellites to roam around Mars to deliver its report: a few hundred megabits, then transmitted to the main terrestrial antennae of human patrons.
Scientists analyze this data every day on the ground floor of the 34th floor of Goddard space center in Greenbelt, NASA. See the signs of life in Mars in this wonderful room without windows full of instruments and computers.
The interior of the curiosity is a miniature one: a chemical laboratory in the size of a microwave oven called SAM.
Charles MalespinThe vice president of the scientific team of Curiosity draws attention to the instruments in the study plans: the robot is shrunk and compacted. Başka This is the most complex tool sent to another planet by NASA, bir says Malespin, who has been committed to his professional life since 2006.
SAM analyzes samples by heating them in an oven up to 1000 ° C. When cooking, rocks and soils release gases. These gases are then separated and sent to the instruments which analyze them and draw a "fingerprint" of the sample.
Thanks to SAM, it is known that there are complex organic molecules in Mars and the ancientness of the surface of the planet is believed to be geologically younger than scientists. ”If we want to go to Mars, importing already existing resources doesn't work,, Malespin adds, for example, to water. "We can dig the soil, heat it and release the water, just get a furnace, we'll have as much water as we want," he says. The same applies to various materials that may become fuel for a future "rocket service station".
On the other side of the United States, there are about 15 men and women who manage curiosity at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, near Los Angeles.
"My favorite moment of the day is when I sit down to see footage from Mars," says Curiosity, who left in June, and Frank Hartman, another robot, from Opportunity.
The work of the drivers is to schedule the robot's 24-hour and 40-minute Mars day and schedule commands to comply with it.