Elizabethan London

Elizabethan London
Tyburn was an infamous execution spot west of London, used since medieval times. The Tyburn "tree" - a unique, multi-person gallows - erected in 1571 became a popular public spectacle, drawing crowds of thousands.Tyburn Tree blog is less blood-thirsty but hopefully topical, interesting and informative, if slightly bent to my personal topics of interest - books, writing, history, technology, with a smattering of politics and dash of pop culture, science and the downright strange. So "take a ride to Tyburn" and see what happens...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Slow beats the time-worn heart of Mars..."

If the Olympic excitement has been distracting you, you might want to take note of this spectacular and astounding moment in history - the amazing success of the Curiosity Rover. 

Curiosity is part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, a long term series of robotic exploration mission of the red planet.  Curiosity itself is a large mobile laboratory with a payload ten times that carried by previous rovers.  Designed to roam the surface of Mars for at least a full Martian year (687 days), Curiosity is equipped with 17 cameras, a laser spectrometer and sample collectors (among other testing equipment) and is designed to test the Martian soil for potential signs of microbic life.

Curiosity successfully landed last week utilizing a spectacular and terrifying deployment system that combined reentry, parachute deployment and then a final descent via a tethered "sky-crane", a new and innovative landing deployment that had never been attempted before.

Essentially JPL and NASA have landed a rover the size of  mini-Cooper on a planet more than 85 million kilometres away.
Curiosity is currently situated in Gale Crater, a massive 154 km wide crater estimated to have been created 3.5 billion years ago.  The exposed terrain of the crater will allow Curiosity a full view of the range of Martian geology, opening a window into the planet history.  The image to the right (courtesy of NASA), shows Curiosity on the surface of Gale Crater.

For a look at the surface, where Curiosity is currently, I highly recommend clicking on the link for a look at the incredible and immersive panorama that Andrew Boderov stitched together at 360 Cities blog.

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