Monday, November 28, 2011

Curiosity equiped with German radiation detector

DLR Portal - News - Curiosity - a heavyweight Mars explorer:
"The US 'Curiosity' rover began its journey to Mars at 16:02 CET on 26 November on board an Atlas V 541 / Centaur launcher that lifted off from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. With 10 instruments on board, Curiosity will gather information about how hostile to or favourable for life the Red Planet was in the past – and might be for future manned missions. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and Christian Albrecht University in Kiel are part of the team that is sending a Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) to Mars. The objective is to measure radiation levels at the Martian surface for the first time ever, thereby establishing the potential radiation dose for future astronauts and determining the depth below the surface at which living organisms might be able to survive. The spacecraft will land in Gale Crater – a destination that DLR planetary researcher Ernst Hauber favoured during workshops with NASA."