Mission to Mars: NASA engineering and the Red Planet

- August 10, 2012

Sci-Fi had it all wrong. It’s not Martians who invaded Earth, but Earthlings who are visiting the Red Planet.

NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on the fourth planet from the sun early on August 6, 2012, eastern time, and began communicating with its Mars Science Lab, passing valuable data and photos back to Earth.

Just how did NASA get its Curiosity rover on Mars and how does its Mars Science Lab operate? Read through this collection of EDN content on the topic of Mars exploration through engineering.


Mars Observer launches, September 25, 1992

  • 09.25.2015

On this day in tech history, NASA’s Mars Observer probe launched; 11 months later contact was lost before its primary objectives could be achieved. Read More...

Viking 2 lands to explore Mars, September 3, 1976

  • 09.03.2015

On this day in tech history, Viking 2 landed on Mars at Utopia Planitia to begin its mission and look for evidence of life. Read More...


NASA Orion’s challenging journey to the Red Planet: Power and Thermal mission planning

  • 08.24.2015

Nujoud Merancy’s group is Mission planning; that is, how Orion gets to where it is supposed to go knowing Orion’s capabilities, her team goes over the thermal and power profiles that they haveRead More...

Curiosity Rover lands on Mars, August 6, 2012

  • 08.06.2015

On this day in tech history, NASA's Curiosity Rover touched down on Mars after an eight-month, 352-million-mile journey. Read More...

NASA launches Phoenix spacecraft, August 4, 2007

  • 08.04.2015

On this day in tech history, the Phoenix spacecraft was launched aboard a Delta II rocket, starting its nine-month, 423 million-mile journey to Mars. Read More...

Mariner 4 flies by Mars, July 14, 1965

  • 07.14.2015

On this day in tech history, American space probe Mariner 4 passed within 6,200 miles of the Red Planet, capturing the first close-up images of the Martian surface. Read More...

NASA launches Spirit Mars Rover, June 10, 2003

  • 06.10.2015

On this day in tech history, the Spirit Rover was launched beginning NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission, which also launched the Opportunity Rover to the Red Planet. Read More...

Mars 3 launches, May 28, 1971

  • 05.28.2015

On this day in tech history, the USSR launched Mars 3, the first spacecraft to attain soft landing on Mars. Some 40 years later, amateur space enthusiasts rummaging through publicly available archived images may have identified Mars 3 lander debris on the surface of the planet. Read More...

13 engineering truths proved by NASA's Curiosity Rover

  • 05.07.2015

In discussing the NASA Curiosity Rover's design, launch, successful landing, and continuing mission on Mars, NASA's Luke Dubord touched on topics that, whether engineers want to accept or not, are real of all engineering, from simple consumer devices to complex spacecraft.Read More...


NASA’s Spirit rover lands on Mars, January 4, 2004

  • 01.04.2015

On this day in tech history and before NASA’s Curiosity rover, the Spirit rover landed on Mars and began a mission that lasted more than 20 times longer than anticipated. Read More...


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