Mars Curiosity Rover - "Sky Crane"
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NASA's "Curiosity Rover", the biggest, most sophisticated robotic explorer ever built, blasted off on a journey to Mars. This dramatic video shows how it will land on Mars in August 2012 using a "sky crane".

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The new Mars Science Laboratory will launch this fall and land on Mars in August 2012. Since it is too big to land bouncing with airbags like its predecessors and Mars doesn't have enough atmosphere for a parachute to slow it sufficiently, a hybrid approach, involving a rocket-slowed descent and a 'sky crane" will be used. After an eight month voyage it will enter the Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph, where its heat shield will protect it from burning up. A parachute slows it down before the rocket-powered descent stage. Then the sky crane finalizes the landing.    PopSci
The first of NASA's rovers, Sojourner, which reached Mars in 1997, was 65cm long and weighed (on Earth, where the gravitational pull is 2?? times Mars's) 10kg. Spirit and Opportunity, its twin successors, were larger, at 1.6 metres and 170kg. Curiosity, by comparison, is a monster. At 3 metres and 900kg it is the size of a small car.    Note: While it is a realistic animation, of course there is no sound in space.
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