HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - 10 On Your Side's Art Kohn spoke to NASA engineers at Langley Research Center Monday about the Rover's landing on Mars.
Engineers worked for more than a decade on some key systems and components for Curiosity, the most advanced Mars rover ever built.
"Once the spacecraft enters the Martian atmosphere it takes seven minutes to slow it down from 13,000 miles per hour and gently land it on the surface to at almost zero," Director of Communications Rob Wyman said.
During the decent, a system of instruments called MEDLI were at work gathering critical measurements. NASA Langley Engineer Michelle Muck is the Deputy Director for that project.
"It measures the temperature and the pressure on the aero shell as MSL flies through the Martian Atmosphere," Deputy Director of MEDLI Michelle Munk said.
That information was stored on the Rover and is already being received back on earth. Information that is a lot more important than you might think.
"MEDLI is definitely an historical set of data," Munk said. "These are the modeling paths that we need to take forward in designing future landers and the ones that will eventually take humans to Mars."
"The key to getting a human to Mars is for us to be able to carry more mass," Wyman said. "We have to get something bigger to the planet, and this is that real first step."
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