Government IT: NASA's Curiosity Mission: Scenes From the New Mars Rover
Dell announced that its systems supported the landing of NASA's new Mars rover, Curiosity. Dell systems played a key role in the most complicated portion of the mission, with data analysis conducted in two NASA high-performance computing (HPC) clusters running Dell PowerEdge servers. Managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., Curiosity is the largest rover ever sent to explore the Red Planet. Launched Nov. 26, 2011, Curiosity landed on the Red Planet at 10:32 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Aug. 5 (or in the early morning hours Eastern Daylight Time on Aug. 6), near the base of a mountain inside the Gale Crater near the Martian equator. Researchers plan to use Curiosity to study the mountain's layers, which hold evidence about the wet environments of early Mars and may hold clues about whether the planet ever offered conditions favorable for life. The rolling laboratory will search for two things: environments where life might have existed, and the capacity of those environments to preserve evidence of past life. With the rover in place after landing safely, eWEEK takes a look at some of the images Curiosity has captured thus far.
Curiositys First Color Image of the Martian Landscape
This view of the landscape to the north of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was acquired by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the afternoon of the first day after landing. (The team calls this day Sol 1, which is the first Martian day of operations; Sol 1 began Aug. 6, 2012.) In the distance, the image shows the north wall and rim of Gale Crater.