Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a robotic mission to Mars launched by NASA on November 26, 2011, that will attempt to land a Mars rover called Curiosity on the surface of Mars. Today (August 6, 2012), it is scheduled to land in Gale Crater at about 05:31 UTC. Curiosity rover’s objectives include determining Mars’ habitability, studying its climate and geology, and collecting data for human missions. Curiosity is twice as long and five times as heavy as NASA’s previous rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The total cost of the MSL/curiosity project is about US$2.5 billion.
So if you would like to see how 2.5 billions touch down on Mars, watch this live video stream:
Flight Engineers Cady Coleman and Paolo Nespoli unpack the newest member of the Expedition 27 crew, Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot in space. R2 was delivered to the International Space Station by space shuttle Discovery on STS-133. R2 is the first humanoid robot sent to the International Space Station. R2 got its first taste of real work on Wednesday. The crew and ground team had completed all its initial checkouts, and Tuesday installed heat sinks in both of the robot’s forearms to allow it to better dissipate heat and work for longer periods of time.
“I was pretty impressed with the robot’s ability,” said Mari Forrestel, the Environmental and Thermal Operating Systems flight controller analyzing the data R2 sent down. “I think we have some tweaking to do, some fine tuning, but we are definitely looking forward to the robot helping us.”
Ron Diftler, the Robonaut 2 project manager, agreed. “We’re definitely on the right path,” he said. “Robonaut 2 had a chance to use its first tool today. This experiment is the first step in the robot relieving the crew of every dull task and, in time, giving the crew more time for science and exploration.”
Six days after it’s rendezvous with the International Space Station which first time in human 😉 history proved that private investments are able to make it up into space, the SpaceX Dragon vehicle left the ISS today. At the moment it is heading back down to earth. SpaceFlightNow has live streaming video coverage:
The resupply craft was released from the robotic arm at 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT) and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean is scheduled for 11:44 a.m. EDT (1544 GMT).
This weekend several Resistor members worked together with The Last Shuttle Project and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to install a time lapse camera near Hangar 12 at JFK to record the demating operation of the Space Shuttle Enterprise (OV101) from the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
See this amazing video and the space shuttle on its last way to retirement!