So far, curiosity has been working on Mars for eight years. What kind of Mars rover is it? What important instruments does it carry? How was it born? Now let’s uncover the secrets of curiosity.
In August 2012, curiosity, the first nuclear powered Mars rover in human history, successfully landed in Gail crater, which represents that human exploration of extraterrestrial objects has entered the era of nuclear power.
As early as the beginning of the 20th century, human beings had a strong interest in extraterrestrial objects. This red object, which is closer to us, has been regarded as another planet with life by imaginative people.
It was not until the 1970s, when NASA’s Viking 1 and 2 Mars probes arrived on Mars, that we really saw this world full of reverie. It is a dry, barren, dead planet without any life and vitality. However, due to the particularity of Mars and its unique position in the solar system, we have never given up the study of Mars.
Curiosity is the most important exploration project on Mars in the 21st century. Curiosity uses two IBM special computers, which can withstand the temperature change from minus 55 ℃ to 70 ℃ and the radiation level of 1000 Gy.
The computer carried by curiosity uses VxWorks operating system, which is an embedded real-time operating system developed by Fenghe company in 1983. It can help curiosity complete very complex operations and mechanical operations on Mars. This set of operating system is widely used in military, aerospace, communication and other fields, such as F-16, FA-18 fighter and Phoenix.
Because Mars is more than 55 million kilometers away from us recently, the long-distance transmission and operation become very difficult. The direct data bandwidth between curiosity and the earth is about 8kbit / s. however, curiosity can communicate with the earth with the help of Mars Orbiter, so that the communication speed can reach about 256kbit / s.
When the Mars Orbiter flies over curiosity, curiosity will be able to communicate with the probe for about 8 minutes, and finally the data will arrive at earth after a long interstellar transmission.
Curiosity also has a multi mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator. Its essence is a piece of heat and battery. Curiosity’s nuclear power system mainly consists of two parts, one is the heat source filled with plutonium-238 dioxide, and the other is a set of solid thermocouples. This system can convert the heat generated by plutonium-238 into electricity Electric power, the design service life is up to 14 years.
The nuclear power battery can provide enough power for curiosity to maintain its operation in the long-term sandstorm weather, so that it will not encounter the situation of dust burial and power loss like opportunity. At the same time, on curiosity’s fuselage, it also carries a Firestar handheld lens imager, Mars landing imager, Mars Sample Analysis Instrument and radiation assessment probe It is precisely because of these powerful equipment and instruments that curiosity has discovered many details of Mars that have not been discovered before by the rover. For example, the environmental changes and historical evolution of Mars, in the distant past, Mars may be similar to our earth.
By 2020, curiosity, with an investment of 2.6 billion US dollars and an estimated service life of only 687 Earth days, has been working on Mars for eight years. Due to its powerful nuclear power and precise design and maintenance, it is still working on Mars tens of millions of kilometers away.
We are learning more about this planet, and in the future, when we can really set foot on this planet, we may be able to uncover the story behind this ancient desert planet. When that day comes, we should remember these “pioneers of mankind”, the probes that bring us hope, they are called opportunity, Viking, courage, curiosity
What do you think of the Mars probe? Welcome to comment area.