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Five Years of Curiosity Driving on Mars

3 Aug 2017, 00:36 UTC
Five Years of Curiosity Driving on Mars
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Wikipedia dixit:
“Curiosity comprised 23 percent of the mass of the 3,893 kg (8,583 lb) Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft, which had the sole mission of delivering the rover safely across space from Earth to a soft landing on the surface of Mars. The remaining mass of the MSL craft was discarded in the process of carrying out this task. Curiosity has a mass of 899 kg (1,982 lb) including 80 kg (180 lb) of scientific instruments. The rover is 2.9 m (9.5 ft) long by 2.7 m (8.9 ft) wide by 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in height.
Curiosity is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), like the successful Viking 1 and Viking 2 Mars landers in 1976. Radioisotope power systems (RPSs) are generators that produce electricity from the decay of radioactive isotopes, such as plutonium-238, which is a non-fissile isotope of plutonium. Heat given off by the decay of this isotope is converted into electric voltage by thermocouples, providing constant power during all seasons and through the day and night. Waste heat can be used via pipes to warm systems, freeing electrical power for the operation of the vehicle and instruments. Curiosity’s RTG is fueled by 4.8 kg ...

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