If you think NASA is shutting down then think again. NASA has successfully landed the $2.5 billion Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars after a 36 month mission. How do we prove the most sophisticated rover ever built actually landed on the surface of the Red Planet? NASA’s orbiter caught the whole event as it unraveled.
The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Sunday to begin a two-year investigation. Curiosity is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars — or if the planet can sustain life in the future,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
Why we are still landing rovers and not humans?
I wrote an article about the many pros and cons to be debated about sending humans to Mars, but according to Bolden this is only a phase of President Obama’s bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030’s. The landing of the Mars rover Curiosity marks a significant step toward achieving that goal.
However bold astronauts may be to explore the solar system, the dangers of cosmic radiation remain a major barrier to manned space exploration. Cosmic radiation has been shown to increase the occurrence of cataracts and could cause an unwary astronaut to suffer from eye damage or blindness on a trip to Mars.
Progress has been made to protect astronauts from radiation that includes better shielding material on the spacecraft and radio-protectors to prevent some side effects of cosmic radiation. So be prepared for commercial space travel and men on mars to happen during your lifetime.