AIAA Congratulates NASA on Successful Landing of the Mars Science Laboratory on the Surface of Mars
"Curiosity" Rover Will Investigate Mars' Gale Crater for Capability to Sustain Life
August 6, 2012 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) congratulates NASA on the successful landing of its Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover on the Martian surface at 1:32 a.m. EDT this morning. Curiosity will study Mars’ Gale Crater for past or present conditions favorable for life.
“On behalf of AIAA, as well as in my personal capacity,” said AIAA President Mike Griffin, “I would like to offer our heartfelt congratulations on the amazing and stunningly successful landing of the Curiosity rover. All who are familiar with the landing sequence required to place Curiosity on Mars will know how incredibly complex, yet ingenious, that sequence was. I well remember the mixed feelings of appreciation and trepidation with which we at NASA Headquarters tendered final approval for the mission design. To see this incredible challenge so magnificently met reflects every possible credit on the team that made it happen. Our hat is off to them.”
Launched on November 26, 2011, Curiosity is the largest rover yet deployed to study the Martian surface. Over the course of its 98-week mission – the length of a Martian year – Curiosity will examine the Gale Crater area in an effort to determine if the area is, or ever was, capable of supporting life. Among the things Curiosity will examine are the crater’s composition, evidence of the existence of water, and the presence of organic molecules. The mission will also look for evidence of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and oxygen – all critical to creating and sustaining life. Should Curiosity find evidence that the Gale Crater is or was capable of sustaining life, NASA will use the MSL data to shape future missions in an ongoing effort to definitively address the question of the presence of life on Mars.
For more information the Mars Science Laboratory mission and its Curiosity rover, please visit: http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.