MSL Sky Crane on Scientific American’s Guest Blog

Regular readers of Vintage Space will know that I’m fascinated by landings – the challenges of both landing on Earth and on other planets. Within this latter vein, I’ve lately become completely mesmerized with the Mars Science Laboratory’s (MSL’s) Sky Crane. Finally, I’ve found a fantastic outlet for an article I’ve been wanting to write for months about the Sky Crane, where it came from, and how it works. With this pieces, I’m very pleased to be a contributing member to the Scientific American’ Guest Blog! Check out the full article, which includes a video of MSL’s recent launch, on Scientific American’s website. (Pictured, the Sky Crane lowering the SUV-sized rover Curiosity to the surface of Mars. Don’t you want to know all about it?)

Comments

  1. Jerry Praver says

    This is an excellent article on a little-covered aspect of Mars missions – how to land the vehicle. But, there is one small error. The Viking I spacecraft went into orbit around Mars on June 19, 1976, not July 19. This event was followed by a thirteen-day intensive effort to reconnoiter the landing site to be sure it was relatively flat and safe to land on July 4. When this turned out not to be the case, the landing date was postponed from July 4, the bicentennial, to July 20, the anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon.

  2. says

    WOW. FANTASTIC article! I can’t even begin to imagine the coordinated engineering effort that went into planning this endeavor. In the wake of the Phobos-Grunt failure, a successful completion of this type and magnitude will vault the US space program to new heights. Now if we can just figure out an alternative fuel/energy source instead of burning chemicals to reach escape velocity, our nation would stand head and shoulders above the rest of the world as the premiere launch source! Hey…a guy can dream, can’t he? Again, very nice article…very exciting, no?!??!?

  3. Sri says

    Great article. Very informative. Keep’em coming. I wish JPL had released more information on this exciting new project, especially the landing phase.

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