Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mission to Mars

The Space Shuttle Discovery is now in place at its permanent home, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (in case you don't know, this is a huge complex outside of Washington DC near Dulles Airport - it's part of the whole Smithsonian, just not located down on the Mall near most of the other museums). It looks like WAMALUG recently displayed there, perhaps as part of events surrounding the opening of this new exhibit. A WAMALUG member, presumably TJJohn12, built these Mars probes. The first model is the Curiosity, a rover that is currently en route to Mars (set to land this August) with the mission to study the possibility that Mars ever supported life, collect data in preparation for a potential future manned mission, and to study the soil and geology of Mars. The second is the Mars Pathfinder, which landed on Mars in 1997 and operated for three months (in excess of its planned one month lifetime), conducting tests of the atmosphere and soil. The lander, dubbed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station unfolded to reveal solar panels and release a rolling robot named Sojourner.

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