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Introduction to the Mars Science Laboratory

Introduction to the Mars Science Laboratory

Objective:

Is there life on Mars? Meet the Curiosity Rover. The Rover's job is to analyze rocks and other objects on Mars to see if they contain the same molecules that are found in living organisms. Learn about the mission of the Mars Science Laboratory and how to develop questions or hypotheses about space exploration.

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Show your understanding of this concept by correctly answering 3 questions.

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Tutorial

Mars Science Laboratory and the Curiosity Rover

Source: http://nasa.gov

Answering Questions with Rovers

Launch November 26, 2011 - Landing August 5/6, 2012

​A new rover is being sent to Mars! Rovers are vehicles designed to move across the surface of other planets.

The Curiosity rover aims to learn big things. Curiosity is outfitted with a jet pack for landing, a rock vaporizing laser and a radioactive power source.

Two other rovers have been sent to Mars. In 1997, the Mars Pathfinder mission used the Sojourner rover to gather data about the surface of Mars. In 2004, a pair of rovers named Spirit & Opportunity searched for evidence of water on the surface of Mars.

This wheel comparison shows the size of the wheels associated with various Mars rovers. From the left, these are the wheels from the Sojourner, Spirit/Opportunity, and Curiosity rovers. The Curiosity Rover is much larger than rovers that have been sent to Mars in the past. It weighs more than all previous Mars rovers combined.

When scientists create tools to study outer space, they do it with a question in mind that they'd like to answer.

How hot is Venus?

How far away is the Sun?

What is the edge of our Solar System like?

Can you think of a question that you could answer using an outer space mission?

​Example Questions:

Sojourner - "What is the pressure, temperature, and wind like on Mars?"

Spirit & Opportunity - "Was there water on Mars or an environment suitable for life?"

​Example Hypotheses:

​"Seeds that have grown in space will grow the same as seeds that have not."

"Mars contains the building blocks of life and may have been suitable for living organisms in the past."

Questions and Answers

  • justin bush
    Answers 0
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    justin bush — over 1 year ago

    his it true that mars has water and there could be life on mars

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  • jamie
    Answers 2
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    jamie — over 1 year ago

    how would u know that the rover is not a living organism

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      Kyson the LARDBAG
      Kyson the LARDBAG answered over 1 year ago

      throw it in a lake and see if it swims

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      Oskar "Ogga" Willmott (38) answered over 1 year ago

      Because humans built it.

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  • Answer 1
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    Shari Read over 1 year ago

    What area range on Mars will samples be retrieved?

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      Author
      Nathan Lampson (289) answered over 1 year ago

      The planned mission lasts for two Earth years and has the rover exploring an area that is about 3x12 miles. The actual range of Curiosity is unknown because it is possible the radioactive power source of the rover could operate for many years to come.

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  • Answer 1
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    Cooper Leduke over 1 year ago

    I saw it was solar powered. But does it store energy in case of an eclipse or will it stop working?

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      Author
      Nathan Lampson (289) answered over 1 year ago

      Previous Mars rovers have been solar powered, however, Curiosity uses a radioactive power source. Not depending on the Sun for energy means that the rover will be able to have power at all times - even during dust storms.

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  • Answer 1
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    Ryan Stefl over 1 year ago

    would they take rocks also or just soil?

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      Sophie B (180) answered over 1 year ago

      It will analyze both rocks and soil.

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  • Answer 1
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    Jordin Campbell over 1 year ago

    Considering that scientists do not have proof that we are the only human life activity out there, could human life actually still be forming on other planets such as Mars, or Jupiter?

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      Cooper Leduke (0) answered over 1 year ago

      Jupiter is made of gas. But if the genes of the organism were accustomed to life there then maybe.

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  • Answer 1
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    Jonathan Adams almost 2 years ago

    Supposing scientists do not find that there is evidence that Mars could not have sustained life, to our knowledge, is it still possible that there may be another sort of life system? Life, as we know it, is carbon based and relies on water and oxygen, but is there any possibility of life outside of our own understanding?

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      Author
      Nathan Lampson (289) answered over 1 year ago

      Some scientists hypothesize that alternative forms of biochemistry may exist on other planets. Rather than carbon, these life forms would be based on other elements like silicon or nitrogen that are more abundant.

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  • Answer 1
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    Sue Cradduck almost 2 years ago

    How deep will the Curiosity have to dig/read to discover evidence of water on Mars?

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      Author
      Nathan Lampson (289) answered over 1 year ago

      Various Mars landers and oribiter spacecrafts have already detected evidence of past rivers as well as ice and snowfall on Mars. Curiosity is looking for the building blocks of life and gathering information that can be used to send a manned mission to Mars in the future.

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  • Gimeg
    Answer 1
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    Gimeg — almost 2 years ago

    How big will the next Mars explorer probe be? And when will it be sent?

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      Steve Anastasi (436) answered almost 2 years ago

      The rover was launched in November 2011 and is scheduled to land Aug 5, 2012. Its about the size of an SUV and weighs about a ton.

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  • Answer 1
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    Elaina Graner almost 2 years ago

    Was there life on MarS ? ."................!

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      Author
      Nathan Lampson (289) answered almost 2 years ago

      The Curiosity Rover is on the way to Mars to test if rocks might have some of the same molecules that are found in living organisms.

      The rover's job is to search Mars for evidence of past life and to test the environment to see if it might be able to support life.

      Report
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