I Want A Curiosity Rover Sky Crane!

Mars rover Curiosity used a very cool sky crane to land - take a look at the following video (starting around 1:00) to see a visualization of how it works.


(NASA's Mars rover Curiosity sky crane)

Mars Science Laboratory represents the first use of a "soft-landing" technique employed at Mars. The sheer mass of Mars Science Laboratory prevented engineers from using the familiar airbags to deliver their rover safely to the martian surface. As rovers become more capable and carry more instruments, they become larger. So, in order to accommodate this advanced mission, engineers designed a sky-crane method that will lower the rover to the surface.

After the parachute significantly slowed the vehicle and the heatshield (that protected the rover during entry) separated, the descent stage separated from the backshell. Using four steerable engines, the descent stage slowed the nested rover down even further to eliminate the effects of any horizontal winds. When the vehicle slowed to nearly zero velocity, the rover was released from the descent stage. A bridle and "umbilical cord" lowered the rover to the ground. During the lowering, the rover's front mobility system was deployed so that it was essentially ready to rove upon landing. When the on-board computer sensed that touchdown was successful, it cut the bridle.

And, as we now know, this method worked perfectly.

When I first heard about this, I thought about the kite-copter car that Jack Vance created for his terrific 1952 story The Kokod Warriors. It's not a perfect prediction, but it might make you think that there is more to this "sky crane" idea than meets the eye:

The observation vehicle was of that peculiar variety used in conveying a large number of people across rough terrain. The car proper was suspended by a pair of cables from the kite-copter which flew five hundred feet overhead. The operator, seated in the nose of the car, worked pitch and attack by remote control, and so could skim quietly five feet over the ground, hover over waterfalls, ridges, ponds, other areas of scenic beauty with neither noise nor the thrash of driven air to disturb the passengers.

Via NASA.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/16/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...' - Jack Williamson, 1933.

Pent-Up NASA Scientists Simulate Life On Mars
'That gives it complete isolation.' - David H. Keller, 1932.

Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
'...The dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.' - Hal Clement, 1956.

Axiom - The World's First Private Space Station?
'So Webb Foster had built his space laboratory... It was a great crystal sphere, a thousand feet in diameter.' - Nat Schachner, 1937.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'

Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.