The NASA Mars rover Curiosity. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
The Curiosity rover set for Mars is set to land in six days, on August 5, and has officially began its entry procedures into the Red Planet on July 30, according to NASA.
A statement released from NASA reads:
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"Today, the Mars Science Laboratory flight team begins executing its procedure for entry, descent and landing (EDL), and the spacecraft begins its sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing this coming weekend. These activities include enabling needed components and setting final parameters. In addition, the schedule over the next several days includes opportunities to update parameters for the autonomous software controlling events during EDL."
Currently, the Curiosity rover is speeding toward Mars at 8,000 miles per hour. It will have to land autonomously, based on software updates and algorithms that have been sent from Earth from NASA over the past weeks.
Its mission is to collect soil samples that will hopefully help astronomers to figure out the past, and current, biological capacity of the planet. It will also give more details on the Red Planet's geological make up.
The landing procedure, dubbed 'Seven Minutes of Terror' by NASA involves a period of radio silence when NASA's team will not know what is happening with the rover. This is due to the distance between Mars and Earth, approximately 80,000 kilometers, which means that signals relayed from the rover will take time to reach Earth. For those few precious moments when it enters the atmosphere and initiates its landing sequence, Curiosity will be out of touch with the team monitoring it back on Earth.
The Curiosity rover is one of NASA's most ambitious undertakings, and has been built with the most advanced autonomous landing system developed by NASA. Stay tuned to LatinosPost for more news as the rover enters Martian territory.