Curiosity's successfull landing
|Monday August 5th at 7h31 (CET), the "Curiosity"rover, main element of the Mars Science Laboratory mission of NASA, has successfully landed on Mars. |
The first images obtained by the cameras of the rover are already available.
This success is a remarkable technical feat for the JPL engineers, as the landing system of this rover weighting nearly one ton was completely new and extremely complex.
This success gives the green light to a very promising science mission, looking for conditions which prevailed in the earliest period of the history of Mars : were they compatible with the emergence of life ? This mission is an important step as it will explore in detail a site selected for its hydrated minerals (clays in particular) which testify to the presence of water at or near the surface. Furthermore, the payload is extremely sophisticated, making it possible to investigate samples down to a mm scale with unprecedented accuracy.
Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale has been strongly involved in the preparation of this mission with the first detection of hydrated minerals testifying to the presence of water in the earliest stages of the history of Mars by the OMEGA imaging spectrometer.
IAS also delivered a microcamera developped for the ROSETTA mission for imaging the rocks to be analysed by the CHEMCAM instrument developped by LANL (USA) and IRAP at Toulouse (S. Maurice, co-PI).