Seven Minutes of Terror

Those of you who have been reading here for a long while know of my admiration for poor little Spirit.  Opportunity keeps rolling, of course.  But …

Curiosity is coming.

And when I mean “Seven Minutes of Terror”, I don’t mean what Pres. Obama would do in signing a bad bill or what happens at Planned Parenthood.  Just to put this in perspective.

Here is a video from the JPL about what’s up with the all important, and terrifying, landing stage:




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. jflare says:

    That IS rocket science! Literally!

    Quite a lot of effort they must expend simply to get a small probe to the ground without breaking anything. That’s dozens of decisions the computer must make (and be “trained” TO make) in a pretty short time. It’d be interesting to know where they “crash tested” the whole thing, or if they could.

    Realize too, they’re doing essentially the thing with this probe that they did with each Apollo spacecraft, starting with Apollo 11’s moon landing.
    They say 150,000 lines of code. Given what all they do IN that length, I’m surprised it’s not a few million.

    Good job, JPL.

  2. LorrieRob says:

    Thanks for posting this—Amazing and scary footage! This video was brought to my attention by my brother’s family who are very close friends with Steven Lee, one of the JPL engineers in the film and the face in the video clip that comes up on my page(which is heartwarming for me). Steven is a brilliant engineer, a fine family man and most importantly a strong believer in Jesus. Our family will be holding this exciting project and most especially Steven up in prayer….Dare mighty things!

  3. irishgirl says:

    Oh my goodness-how scary indeed!
    Everything has to fall into place, or else, with one itty-bitty mistake in anything, it could all go bust!
    I hope that little ‘Curiosity’ has a safe landing in August! (What a cool name!)

  4. KAS says:

    That is so cool. I hope I get to watch and follow the whole thing. If it doesn’t work, I hope they at least get enough data to make the next one succeed. ALSO if it doesn’t work it will be a very short mission on mars.

    I hope it works because it is so fun to watch the reports from these robots.

  5. teomatteo says:

    When i hear news of our planetary exploration i always think of something that happened on the surface of Venus. We had a probe alight upon the surface and then the lens cap popped off the camera perfectly. and landed smack dab under the robot arm that was to sample the soil. So it ‘sampled’ the lens cap. Oooppps.

  6. The Cobbler says:

    But where’s my flying car?

    I kid, I kid.

    I may be the only one here… but I wonder what the code is like! (I’m a database junkie. I have an interest in the software involved as much as anything else that it takes to get onto another planet.)

  7. LisaP. says:

    Hey, that’s the kind of thing I do all the time! I could have been a rocket scientist!

  8. jflare says:

    I have been tempted to ask why someone couldn’t devote that degree of effort into making an automatic car, one that drives itself, instead of this. Surely it would require a huge degree of research, but I think it could be done.
    Sadly, I don’t think we’ll see it happen.
    As to the code, I’m not a database junkie, so I don’t know how it might be structured, but I thought I saw a note on there about “CO..” something or other. I only noticed because I thought for a moment it mentioned something about CO2, carbon dioxide, but I don’t think it did.
    Have you heard of anything database related that’s described by “COH”, perhaps?

  9. Fr Matthew says:

    Amazing! I’ll say a prayer that all goes well… I want the rover to be able to send us lots of cool data about Mars!

  10. Pingback: Seven minutes of terror, coming soon to a planet relatively near you | Perpetual Learner

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