Saturday, April 14, 2012

Got a Minute for Mars?

The folks at NASA/JPL recently launched a series of mini online videos that very quickly, and in an entertaining manner, explain one important aspect in the grand process of understanding and exploring the planet Mars. Each of these videos is a minute in length. Hence, the series is called “Mars in a Minute.” Here are three videos that have been released to-date:

Mars in a Minute: Is Mars Really Red?

Mars in a Minute: How Do You Get to Mars?

Mars in a Minute: How Do You Land on Mars?

With regard to the most recent video (“How Do You Land on Mars?”), here is a little trivia about the three landing options reviewed. All three options for landing either have been used, or are currently being used on NASA missions. Here are the specifics missions and their sites online.

Option 1: Airbags and Retrorockets.

Mars Pathfinder/Sojourner Rover:
Mars Exploration Rover – A, Spirit:
Mars Exploration Rover – B, Opportunity:

Option 2: Retrorockets and Landing Legs.

Viking 1 Orbiter/Lander:
Viking 2 Orbiter/Lander:
Mars Polar Lander (unsuccessful):
Phoenix Lander:

Option 3: Jet Pack and Cables.

Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover):

And more trivia: As of this writing, the Curiosity Rover, which launched November 2011, is 113 days from executing “Option 3” and touching down on the Martian surface. To learn lots and lots more about NASA’s ongoing exploration of the Red Planet, check out NASA’s Mars Exploration Program site ( and NASA/JPL’s Mars Science Laboratory site (


No comments: