Mars Curiosity & a curious landing strategy

This weekend NASA launches its new mission to the red planet: the Mars Science Laboratory. On-board will be a new rover – Mars Curiosity – the larger and heavier successor to the massively successful Spirit and Opportunity which have been roaming around since up there 2004 (though Spirit stopped working earlier this year).

Curiosity will get to the martian surface in a new, untested, way. Instead of parachuting all the way down, it will complete its descent in a more controlled manner via a ‘sky crane’. I was looking for more details on this interesting maneuver and came across this great infographic from space.com explaining the whole process. Fingers crossed everything goes to plan!

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