Category Archives: Mars

“Why it’s hard to get to Mars” presented by Astronaut Stan Love

Astronaut Stan LoveWhat challenges does NASA face on their quest to send humans to Mars?

NASA Astronaut Stanley Love is visiting Oregon State University on Monday, March 4, 2013 to answer that very question in his entertaining presentation, “Why Mars is Hard”! The presentation will start at 6 p.m. PDT in the Milam Auditorium (026) in Milam Hall at the corner of SW 26th Street and SW Campus Way on the OSU Campus.

The presentation is free of charge and open to the public. Media are invited to attend. During his talk, Dr. Love will give a fun rocket science lesson to help the audience understand why going to Mars is difficult and to hopefully inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to pursue these challenges. A brief question-and-answer session will follow.

Dr. Love considers Eugene, Oregon to be his hometown. He was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 1998. In 2008, Dr. Love completed his first spaceflight on the crew of STS-122, logging more than 306 hours in space. This included more than 15 hours in two spacewalks, where he helped prepare the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory module for installation.

The event is hosted by the OSU AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) Student Branch and sponsored by the OSU School of MIME (Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering). For more information about this appearance, contact Victor Dang


Curiosity’s Wild Ride! Color Stop Motion Video of Descent to Mars

This stop-motion video shows 297 frames from the Mars Descent Imager aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover as it descended to the surface of Mars. These thumbnail images were received on Earth on Aug. 6, 2012, and cover the last two and a half minutes of descent.

Curiosity’s Descent

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Curiosity Rover Safely Lands on Mars – Begins Two Year Mission!

Curiosity on descent to Mars

In this amazing NASA image, the MRO HiRISE satellite captures the MSL suspended from a supersonic parachute during a terrifying descent to the Mars surface!

After a tense 352-million mile journey, NASA’s newest rover, Curiosity, made a pinpoint landing in the Gale crater on Mars late last night!  It seemed that the entire world was watching, including several other satellites.  The NASA Mars Reconnaissance orbiter captured the image to the left – a shot of Curiosity connected to a supersonic parachute during the descent to Gale Crater.  Hundreds of people gathered in New York’s time square to watch the landing on the big screen.  The landing activities were streamed live online and millions cheered with the mission crew after touchdown.  The excitement and elation were global and contagious!

As we join with the mission team in a collective high five, we wish the Curiosity rover great success in a two-year mission to search for signs that life may have once existed on Mars.

Share in our enthusiasm and watch the video below!

And don’t forget to visit the NASA website for the very latest information about the Mars Science Laboratory mission and the Curiosity rover.


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JPL Creates 3-D Visualization of Curiosity Rover Landing

Eyes on the Solar System Curiosity Simulation

Try the Eyes on the Solar System Curiosity simulation to view the NASA mission in real time!

JPL’s Eyes on the Solar System is a 3-D environment full of real NASA mission data. Explore the cosmos from your computer. Hop on an asteroid. Fly with NASA’s Voyager spacecraft. See the entire solar system moving in real time. It’s up to you. You control space and time.

As a special feature for the Eyes on the Solar System program, you can now experience the Mars Curiosity Rover landing in real time! This visualization lets you ride with Curiosity all the way to the surface of Gale crater. Preview the events of Entry Descent and Landing, or watch live!

Visit the Eyes on the solar System website today to try this interactive simulation! Note: JAVA is required and the simulation will open in a separate window.


NASA Administrator Bolden Suggests Potential For International Manned Mars Mission

Curiosity Rover

Could the success of the Mars Science Lab mission drive future manned missions to Mars?

In an interview with the USA Today editorial board, NASA’s Chief Administrator, Charles Bolden, pointed to Mars as a prime exploration destination but insisted that any US manned missions to Mars would be international efforts.

“I have no desire to do a Mars landing on our own,” Bolden said. “The U.S. cannot always be the leader, but we can be the inspirational leader through international cooperation” in space exploration.

The upcoming Curiosity rover landing, scheduled for August 5th, should fuel public interest in the Red Planet. NASA has focused heavily on public involvement in the event, scheduling viewing parties, offering multiple press conferences to hype the event, releasing a free Xbox Kinect game to simulate the landing, and publishing several sensational videos describing the landing process.  NASA even struck viral gold with their “Seven Minutes of Terror” video, which quickly spread across the internet last month.  It is hoped that the Mars Science Lab mission will find signs of previous microbial life on Mars.  Such a discovery, combined with a similar NASA PR push, would certainly boost public interest in a manned mission.

Don’t forget to tune in to NASA TV this weekend to watch the Curiosity landing!

Read the USA Today article at:  NASA chief: U.S. won’t go it alone on manned Mars mission –


Resources for the Mars Rover Landing


The Curiosity rover will land August 5-6, 2012.

Celebrate the Landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover!

In a few weeks, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is set to land on Mars. What will this rover do? Curiosity will look for things that sustain life: signs of long-term water in the past or present and the right chemical ingredients for life (e.g., carbon-based molecules, the chemical building blocks of life). Use this historic occasion to introduce current real-world science and engineering to your students.

Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars at 1:31 a.m. EDT on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (That’s 10:31 p.m. PDT, Sunday, Aug. 5.) That evening, Mars will be visible in the night sky with a telescope or with the naked eye. Take this opportunity to host a Mars-gazing party! Just after sunset, Mars will be roughly 150 million miles away from Earth, and the Curiosity Rover will be only hours away from arriving to this distant orange dot in the night sky. Submit your events to

Looking for activities to get students excited about the upcoming landing? A number of short, hands-on activities relating to the mission are available at

For a basic overview of the Red Planet, visit the following websites:

  1. Basic Information on Mars:
  2. Mars Image Collection:
  3. 3-D Images of Mars:

Want to know more about the area where the Curiosity rover will be landing on Mars? Visit the following websites to learn more about Gale Crater.

  1. Destination Gale Crater: August 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm PDT:
  2. Gale’s Mount Sharp Compared to Three Big Mountains on Earth:
  3. National Parks as Mars Analog Sites:

The Curiosity rover will landing using a bold new landing technique. Check out the “Seven Minutes of Terror” video at the link below to see how rockets, parachutes and a “sky crane” will help Curiosity make a soft landing on Mars.

“Seven Minutes of Terror” video:

Live media coverage of the Curiosity landing begins at midnight EDT (9 p.m. PDT) on NASA TV. To find NASA TV on your local cable provider, or to view the coverage online, visit

Curiosity also has a presence on Twitter and Facebook:

  1. Twitter:
  2. Facebook:

For up-to-the-minute mission information about the Curiosity rover and progress toward its Mars landing, visit and


NASA – Mars Orbiter Repositioned to Phone Home Mars Landing

NASA – Mars Orbiter Repositioned to Phone Home Mars Landing. July 24, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has successfully adjusted its orbital location to be in a better position to provide prompt confirmation of the August landing of the Curiosity rover.

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft carrying Curiosity can send limited information directly to Earth as it enters Mars’ atmosphere. Before the landing, Earth will set below the Martian horizon from the descending spacecraft’s perspective, ending that direct route of communication. Odyssey will help to speed up the indirect communication process.

NASA reported during a July 16 news conference that Odyssey, which originally was planned to provide a near-real-time communication link with Curiosity, had entered safe mode July 11. This situation would have affected communication operations, but not the rover’s landing. Without a repositioning maneuver, Odyssey would have arrived over the landing area about two minutes after Curiosity landed.

A spacecraft thruster burn Tuesday, July 24, lasting about six seconds has nudged Odyssey about six minutes ahead in its orbit. Odyssey is now operating normally, and confirmation of Curiosity’s landing is expected to reach Earth at about 10:31 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5 (early Aug. 6, EDT and Universal Time), as originally planned.

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Mars Rover Curiosity Landing Educator Conference at JPL – August 3-5, 2012

Curiosity Rover

Bring “Curiosity” Into Your Classroom! Educator conference at JPL Aug.3-5, 2012.

Bring “Curiosity” Into Your Classroom!

Join in the historic landing of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity at Gale Crater Aug.3-5, 2012, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Bring the excitement of Mars exploration to your classroom with standards-aligned, STEM-based, hands-on activities and take home image-rich learning materials. Mission team members will share their stories, and you can see mission control, rover test beds and more. Then, view Curiosity’s anticipated landing at 10:31 p.m., Aug. 5.

For more information and to register, go to:

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