The NASA Mars Rover Team recently received a call from President Barack Obama. Charles Elachi, the JPL Director, and the Mars Science Laboratory team were congratulated on the successful landing of the Curiosity Mars rover.
In the call made to the mission control room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Obama stated that the rover team had made the country proud. The accomplishment expresses the spirit of Americans, he said. Curiosity is expected to provide information about the previously unknown and will form the basis for undertaking missions with humans to Mars.
The landing of the Curiosity Mars rover has helped move forward President Obama’s goals for improving engineering, mathematics, science and technology education.
The curiosity of humans, which drives them to discover new things and increase the boundaries of knowledge, makes them stand apart from other species, the President said.
While thanking the President, Elachi hoped that the landing will inspire young people about the Mars mission.
The Curiosity team is transitioning the main computers on the rover to suit the surface work on Mars. Driving on the Mars surface is to be performed and tools on a robotic arm are to be used. The flight software required for landing on Mars is no longer required. The rover is to be made fully functional to suit surface operations. The first drive is expected to be conducted in about a week.
The rover has unique tools such as a laser-firing instrument that can be used for checking the elemental composition of rocks from afar. The Curiosity’s robotic arm has a drill and scoop, which will allow it to collect soil and rock interior samples for analysis on the rover.
When compared to the other Mars rovers - Spirit and Opportunity, the Curiosity weighs five times more and has double the length. This allows it to handle the 10 science instruments.