Space Mission (Mars Curiosity) – Term Paper


Mars has factually been unreceptive to Earth’s tries to visit it. Many missions have been tried to Mars than to any other destination in the Solar System apart from the Moon, with the first mission in 1964, and nearly, half of the trials have not succeeded (Pyle 1). A few of the failed attempts happened since Mars was the first planet Earth attempted to discover and the early exploration attempts taught us many things that have made later missions more successful. However, many failures have happened somewhat recently, proving once more that space examination is very, very hard. Nevertheless, from 1996, Mars examination has experienced a rebirth, by means of data from foursome orbiters and quartet landed missions creating a revolutionary fresh scrutiny of Mars as an Earth-like planet with an intricate geologic past (Pyle 1).

Curiosity’s major intent is establishing the viability of the planet Mars to support life. Even with it being that the equipment;s purpose may not be finding life itself, the ;rover; contains many instruments aboard which could communicate or relay intelligence concerning the immediate environment. At the start of 2013, scientists made a major breakthrough, when the rover sent back intelligence indicating that the planet Mars had;conditions that could support life (Pyle 1). Dust out of the first specimen attained by Curiosity included the components of sulfur, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen and carbon that are considered the fundamental components that could sustain life (Pyle 1). Even with it being that the aforementioned findings may not be evidence of life sustainability potential; the discovery was still stimulating to the Explorers who took part in the study.

Hire a custom writer who has experience.
It's time for you to order amazing papers!

order now

Scientists also discovered increased amounts of Methane on Mars nearing the end of 2013 and near the beginning of 2014. The methane level was almost seven parts per billion (matched to the customary 0.3 ppb to 0.8 ppb) (Pyle 1). The aforementioned findings were a noteworthy discovery since in a number of situations; methane was a pointer of microbial being. Methane was also used as a pointer to geological progressions. Early 2016, though, the players ascertained to the fact that methane did not consistently spike (Pyle 1). There are lesser background alterations in methane, which could be connected to the periods (Pyle 1). Curiosity came up with the primary ultimate naming of organic materials that were found on Mars. Even with it being that, organic elements are regarded life’s construction blocks they do not essentially inform on the subsistence of life since they could also be produced via ‘chemical reactions’ (Pyle 1).

Besides searching for Mar’s potential to sustain life, ‘Curiosity’ has supplementary instruments aboard that are purposed to study or scrutinize surroundings neighboring it. In the middle of the proclaimed objectives lies the need to institute a permanent documentation of weather conditions and observations of radiation to establish the appropriateness of the sites in question in supporting human activity. ‘Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector;;operates for fifteen minutes per hour to calculate a strip of radiation emitted on land and in the air (Wiens 100). Scientists are majorly paying attention to gauging “secondary rays” or waves that can produce elements with reduced energy levels following a collision with gas particles in the environment (Wiens 100). Gamma rays, neutrons produced by this method could be of great risk to humanity.; Moreover, an ;ultraviolet sensor; lodged on deck of the space ship traces radiation endlessly.

The ;Environmental Monitoring Station; for Rover evaluates wind’s velocity and shows its course, in addition to determining humidity and temperature in the nearby air. The year 2016 was when scientists were in a position of noticing lengthy patterns in elements such as air humidity and atmospheric pressure (Wiens 132). Some of these alterations happened when carbon-dioxide polar caps that developed in winter were melted in spring, discarding enormous quantities of humidity into the atmosphere.

In February 2013, ‘Curiosity’ encountered its first problem, when a computer-related problem sent the equipments used in the laboratory into ‘safe mode’ for a number of days (Kaufman 253). The issue led to a disruption, but did not affect rover’s long-standing functionality. However, a further prolonged stalemate has been the condition of the wheels of Rover. September 2014, after ;Curiosity; touched down at Mount Sharp, which was after an evaluation that was conducted by NASA revealing that individuals were required to carry out more probing for inhabitable destinations (Kaufman 253). The objective is to find out how the environmental conditions in Mars transformed into its current acidic state from the usual wet and dry conditions (Kaufman 253).

In February 2015, NASA initiated an innovative technique in drilling at ;Mount Sharp; to start their activities at a small location, a condition for operating with the yielding rock in the targeted region. Beginning a scorching entry into the ambiance, there was need, to deploy a high-speed parachute that was to be used in slowing the spaceship down. It was proclaimed that the parachutes were only able to sustain a total weight of approximately 29,480 kg in assisting the spacecrafts touch down on the surface safely (Kaufman 300). MSL;s speed could have only be slowed down by use of a parachute to a speed of approximately 200 mph (322 kph), which still remained as a high speed in partaking to any form of landing (Kaufman 300). The assembly was brought to play with the aim of cutting off the parachute. As an alternative engineers presented the use of rockets as a means of completing the last fraction of the landing series.

At about 60 feet (18 m) on top of the surface,;MSL’s “sky crane” deployed (Roach 285). The rover was dangled beneath the rockets all thanks to the efforts made by the landing assembly who used a 20-foot tether to carry out the task (Roach 285). MSL touched down at an approximated speed of 2.4 kilometers per hour, which was at the same moment that the sky crane was disengaged, driven away thus crushing into the surface (Roach 285). Personnel at NASA nervously observed the fall of rover on live television. There was increased jubilation in the middle of engineers after attaining the good news that Curiosity was secure. They knew they had made great progress. News about the safe landing expedition was conveyed through various media outlets including social media, newspapers and television (Roach 285). One engineer became highly renowned due to the actuality that he had a ‘Mohawk’ on the day that Curiosity landed on Mars.

Inside the rover were a few gears to look for habitability. Part of such experiments included the act of storming the surface with neutrons. If it happened that, the neutrons showed some sign of sluggishness then that would be an indication that they would have been exposed to hydrogen atoms, which is one of the components that make part of water. Curiosity was fitted with a seven-foot arm that served a number of functions including detecting the gases that surfaced in the surroundings, picking out samples from the surface and heating them up within the rover as well as analyzing collected samples with the intent of discovering clues regarding how the soil samples and rocks were formed (Roach 285). Way after curiosity drilled into the rock blocks it was able to analyze them and exhibit the fragments or substances they were made of in their location. The analysis of search blocks enables persons to learn of the elements that became part of the blocks and yet they were not present in the past: if that would be, the case then that would be a clear indication of the movement of certain organisms from Earth to Mars. The rover has high-resolution cameras that are able to convey valuable information that can be used in comparing the characteristics of the Earth and Mars in terms of its potential to support life. The rover takes motion pictures as it moves.

On the expected science return, Mars examination has experienced a rebirth, by means of data from foursome orbiters and quartet landed missions. According to the data, the Phoenix Lander carries various complex instruments with improved variations to dig up evaluate the icy soil (Kaufman 256). This has created a revolutionary fresh scrutiny of Mars as an Earth-like planet with an intricate geologic past. This describes the positive returns that are likely to be witnessed in the coming days.


Overall, regardless of the research work that has been conducted in Mars in order to unravel the suitability of Mars environment to sustain life, the fact remains that there is very little information that could be used in proclaiming that the above mentioned planet could bearable for individuals’ existence. Ideally, particular planets could be able to sustain the existence of particular plant species but even so that would not mean that the same planets would be able to sustain life. For a planet to sustain life like Earth, quite a number of proponents would have to become part of such planets including breathable air, clean water amongst several other elements.  

Works Cited

Kaufman, Marc. Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission. , 2014. Print.

Pyle, Rod. Curiosity: An Inside Look at the Mars Rover Mission and the People Who Made It Happen. , 2014. Internet resource.

Roach, Mary. Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.

Wiens, Roger. Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity. New York: Basic Books, 2013. Print.