Thursday, October 6, 2016

Mars landings, real and fictional, for World Space Week

October 4-10 is World Space Week, exactly the kind of event I celebrate on this blog.  To that end, I bring two videos about Mars landings that came out during the past seven days, beginning with Schiaparelli’s descent to Mars from the European Space Agency (There is nothing wrong with your speakers; the video has no sound).

Visualisation of the ExoMars Schiaparelli module entering and descending through the martian atmosphere to land on Mars.

Schiaparelli will enter the atmosphere at about 21 000 km/h and in less than six minutes it will use a heatshield, a parachute and thrusters to slow its descent before touching down in the Meridiani Planum region close to the equator, absorbing the final contact with a crushable structure.

The entire process will take less than six minutes: the animation has been sped up.

Schiaparelli is set to separate from the Trace Gas Orbiter on 16 October, after a seven-month cruise together through space, and will enter the atmosphere on 19 October at 14:42 GMT.
Next, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert opened one of its episodes last week with Stephen Is Already On His Way To Mars.

Now that Elon Musk has unveiled his plan for human colonization of Mars, Stephen imagines what it might be like to be one of the first Earthlings to visit.
To quote Bugs Bunny, "I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albequerque."

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