At at 10:32 p.m. Aug. 5, PDT, NASA again made history. The organization has made a habit of doing so over the years.
After descending through “7 Minutes of Terror,” The Rover Curiosity, of the Mars Science Laboratory Program, landed on Mars. It came to rest at the base of Mount Sharp, a mountain three miles tall and located inside the Gale Crater.
Curiosity carries the most advanced suite of instruments for scientific studies ever sent to the red planet. This camera-loaded, rocker-bogie-suspensioned, rock-vaporizing, nuclear-powered, remote-control geology lab on wheels is also the largest rover to be sent to Mars. At 2,000 pounds, 10 feet long, 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall, it is is twice as long and five times as heavy as Spirit or Opportunity. It’s an amazing accomplishment anyway you look at it.
My question for NASA is: For an organization so technologically advanced, that prides it self on world firsts and that has so successfully conquered outer space – why has it taken so long for you to truly embrace social media? For example the aforementioned Mars Science Laboratory Program passed confirmation review back in 2006, but the Facebook account was not started until half way through 2010. Because I know everyone at NASA reads my blog, if you could just get back to me on that I would appreciate it.
Whatever the reason, NASA has recently blasted off into the social space. With this most recent rover landing, it seems the organization was ready, and I for one am very excited to have people all around me talking about our space program. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future.
NASA’s Social Stats:
Video: Challenges of Getting to Mars – Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror has 1.6 million views.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MarsCuriosity has 243,000+ fans.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/marscuriosity has 900,000+ followers.
Mission pages have been regularly updating and even live streaming:
The internet has responded favorably, even spawning some new memes.
https://twitter.com/SarcasticRover (60,000 followers)
Mission name: Mars Science Laboratory
Rover name: Curiosity rover
Size: About the size of a car — 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall!
Weight: 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds)
Features: Geology lab, rocker-bogie suspension, rock-vaporizing laser and lots of cameras
Mission: To search areas of Mars for past or present conditions favorable to life, and conditions capable of preserving a record of life
Launch: Between Nov. 25–Dec. 18, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida
Arrival: August 2012 on Mars
Length of mission on Mars: The prime mission will last one Mars year or about 23 Earth months.
Mission Slogan: Dare Mighty Things
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
For information about Curiosity’s power source and to obtain high-resolution images, visit: