Martian rocks won’t know what hit them — Curiosity will be able to bore deeper into martian rocks than any other rover on Mars has ever achieved thanks to a handy dandy two-inch drill on the end of one of it’s “arms.”
Curiosity will spend at least two years on Mars, but it’s only expected to travel between three to 12 miles the entire time. That means it will have an average speed of less than 0.00073 mph. Slow and steady, as they say.
Curiosity is one big bad boy— it weighs 1,982 pounds on earth, about the weight of a Mini Cooper.The rover graced Mars at a speed of 13,200 mph, and it’s entry period was called the seven minutes of terror. Dramatic!
NASA doesn’t know where Curiosity’s jetpack lander crashed after it detached. Although NASA maintains this was part of the plan, (they didn’t want it getting in the way of Curiosity’s route), we wonder where it is now?
Curiosity isn’t alone on Mars— there are currently 2 other rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Spirit conked out a while back, but Opportunity has been prowling around since 2004. We hope it’s not territorial. Just in case it is, curiosity is ten times bigger anyway.
The rover’s wheels have treads that print the letters “JPL” (rumoured to stand for Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in morse code in the sand with every turn. Scientists back on Earth wanted to be able to look at photos of the wheel tracks and determine distances driven (not to mention make cool tracks on Mars).
Of the 39 missions to the red planet, 24 have failed. Not only is Curiosity is looking good so far, but it’s our most promising chance of finding signs of life on Mars—it landed at a carefully chosen crater at the foot of a mountain, a great place to look for life because scientists indicate that water once flowed down it.
What if Curiosity gets stuck in a ditch? Who will be there to help a brother out? Thankfully, Curiosity was designed to be self sufficient, with an independent suspension and drive motor so it can roll over 30 inch boulders.
Curiosity has lent itself to many art renderings, including UPEI professor Tim Goddard’s meticulously detailed LEGO version. Get your kid to try their hand at their own personalized rover! You can even get your own LEGO digital design kit.