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Mars Science Laboratory: Entry, Descent and Landing
Mars Science Laboratory: Entry, Descent and Landing (click to enlarge)
 
 

Mars Science Laboratory: Entry, Descent and Landing

The entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase begins when the spacecraft reaches the martian atmosphere, about 125 kilometers (about 78 miles) above the surface, and ends with the rover safe and sound on the surface of Mars.

Entry, descent, and landing for the Mars Science Laboratory mission will include a combination of technologies inherited from past NASA Mars missions, as well as exciting new technologies. Instead of the familiar airbag landing of the past Mars missions, Mars Science Laboratory will use a guided entry and a sky crane touchdown system to land the hyper-capable, massive rover.

The sheer size of the Mars Science Laboratory rover (900 kilograms or over 2,000pounds) would preclude it from taking advantage of an airbag-assisted landing. Instead, the Mars Science Laboratory will use the sky crane touchdown system, which will be capable of delivering a much larger rover onto the surface. It will place the rover on its wheels, ready to begin its mission.

Credit: Jet Propulsion Laboratory



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Last Updated: 30 May 2012