Follow this link to skip to the main content National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
NASA Banner
NASA Mars Exploration Program
Mars Exploration Program
Home
SPOTLIGHT
02.24.2009

Mars Science Laboratory Talks, Rocks, Bakes and Chills

This rotating image is made of two still images. This first photo shows 70 members of the Mars Science Laboratory team in Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Spacecraft Assembly Facility after they have prepared the spacecraft to go to a different area for the environmental tests. The team members are dressed in 'bunny suits' (white protective gear) and are positioned in various poses in front of the spacecraft. In the second photo, the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is suspended in a dark chamber, ready for an environmental test that simulates the extreme hold and cold temperatures of its journey to Mars. The spacecraft consists of a large ring (the cruise stage) on top with the aeroshell below (a clamshell-type structure that holds the rover and its descent stage).

Before leaving Earth, Mars Science Laboratory is really put to the test to make sure it can survive the trip to the red planet.

First, the team listened to hear how loudly the spacecraft "talks" (measuring its electrical interference). This noise could potentially cause radios not to communicate properly during the launch and rocket ride, as well as other possible computer malfunctions. The second test was like sending the whole spacecraft to a concert. It was blasted with 143 decibels of loud, rocket-level sound to test its ability to withstand strong sound vibrations that occur at launch. The third test "baked" and "chilled" the spacecraft in a special chamber that simulates the temperatures of being near Earth (the hottest part of the trip) and near Mars (the coldest part of the trip).


The spacecraft passed this round of tests with flying colors, and is readying for more tests soon!

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Higher Res Images:
  This photo shows 70 members of the Mars Science Laboratory team in Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Spacecraft Assembly Facility after they have prepared the spacecraft to go to a different area for the environmental tests. The team members are dressed in 'bunny suits' (white protective gear) and are positioned in various poses in front of the spacecraft.
Full Size Still Image
Here the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is suspended in a dark chamber, ready for an environmental test that simulates the extreme hold and cold temperatures of its journey to Mars. The spacecraft consists of a large ring (the cruise stage) on top with the aeroshell below (a clamshell-type structure that holds the rover and its descent stage).
Full Size Still Image
 

Return to News Archive


USA.gov
PRIVACY     FAQ     SITEMAP     FEEDBACK     IMAGE POLICY