Seven Minutes of Terror for Mars Rover Curiosity


“When people look at it, it looks crazy. That’s a very natural thing,” says a brilliantly melancholy Adam Stelzner. “Sometimes when we look at it, it looks crazy.”

That’s the ominous introduction by Stelzner, an EDL Engineer for Mars Curiosity mission, for the incredible (and down right scary) NASA video that describes what the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) must endure when it reaches the Martian atmosphere in August.

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The entry, descent and landing (EDL) of the rover is without doubt the most dramatic and violent part of the nuclear-powered robotic mission to Gale Crater. Like robotic missions before it, the time it takes for a surface mission to travel from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the surface is seven minutes. It is for that reason it is known as the “7 Minutes of Terror.”

So sit back and enjoy the ride…

Image: Curiosity’s descent stage reaches the Martian atmosphere. Credit: NASA/JPL

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