NASA’s expensive Mars exploration Curiosity rover is finally doing what it was created to do: rove. Following a successful wheel test, the probe moved forward. Photo Gallery: Curiosity Rover Makes First Tracks on Mars article tells that Curiosity beamed back some incredible images of its tracks, which tell scientists that the soil is firm, great for mobility, and won’t cause the rover to sink much. Curiosity also pulled out its big scientific guns, firing a laser beam at several rocks in the vicinity.
Yes, the Mars rover cost $2bn – but it’s far from a waste of money. Landing Curiosity on Mars was Way Harder and Way Less Expensive than the Olympics. Curiosity rover is about the size of a small SUV and weighs almost 900 kg. It uses scoops, cameras, drills, a powerful rock-vaporizing infrared laser, and 75 kilograms of scientific instruments to perform its investigation. Curiosity is very much based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. Wind River’s VxWorks real-time operating system serves as the software platform for all functionality. Seeing the successful commencement of the Curiosity mission – powered by COTS – is certainly a cause for celebration amongst engineers.
Plan Make Your Own LEGO Curiosity Rover for fun? Stephen Pakbaz designed a custom Curiosity Mars Science Laboratory Rover set, complete with PDF build instructions and parts lists. LEGO Cusoo pages have another model of the Mars Science Laboratory rover, named Curiosity designed by a Mechanical Engineer who worked on the actual Curiosity. A LEGO Digital Designer model and step-by-step .pdf instructions of the Curiosity rover are now freely available.
Rovio sticks some Martian action into Angry Birds Space and has released the following funny advertisement video that features Curiosity rover and Angry Birds.