concept to detect Earth-sized extrasolar planets. I was then in my fourth year as a faculty member of the University of Hawaii.
Viking I (took this photo of the Mars landscape) and II cost about a billion dollars, or between $3 billion and $10 billion in 2012 dollars, depending on which economic comparison. It was worth it because this was only seven years since Armstrong's first Man on Our Moon (the Apollo Project's cost today would be around $200 billion) and still 15 years from the end of the Cold War (which was just about exactly 21 years ago). A $2.5 billion expense today for Curiosity, also known as the Mars Science Laboratory, which while I still think could have been better spent, nevertheless conjures the potential of finding green ladies, or, perhaps a microorganism. After all, we have on Planet Earth bacteria that thrive at 340 C (644 F) and psychrophiles (just another kind of bacteria) below have been observed at minus 12 C (10 F, remembering that 32 F is the freezing point).
It has potential, yes. Do think it will (find life)? Probably not, just knowing how difficult this is. I half expect that we'll find (just) enough information that we'll be desperate to go back.
Here are a few of those Mars probes:
3. This fact is downplayed, and sometimes referred to as a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) , but the power for Curiosity comes from something carefully called a nuclear battery, which is powered by 10.6 pounds of plutonium dioxide. The photo to the left is the Multi Mission RTG, and to the right, the details (click on it to enlarge).
Fobos-Grunt (wishful depiction to the left), with China, Finland, Bulgaria and the Planetary Society as partners, also launched last year, and had all the ingredients for a movie: bring samples back from the moon Phobos, conspiracy (head of the Russian space agency Vladimir Popovkin suggested that America sabotaged the project) and a potentially cataclysmic crash into the Pacific Ocean (with particularly dangerous chemicals if falling over a city). Hey, they only spent about one-fifteenth what it cost us for Curiosity. Yet, just another spectacular embarrassment successfully fended off by the God of War, Mars.
possible that we won't receive any signals for hours, maybe even a whole day. At that point, though, the projected scenarios look bad, very bad. The signals themselves will take just under 14 minutes to reach us, but there are countless potential unknowns Incidentally, did you know that one day for Mars is 24 hours and 40 minutes? Curiosity will hopefully teach us a lot more about this Red Planet:
There are five ocean storms in the Pacific and Atlantic. The most serious at this point is Haikui, now at 65 MPH, but soon to become a typhoon and heading just south of Shanghai, perhaps seriously affecting Zhoushan:
The other is Tropical Storm Ernesto at 50 MPH, now well south of Jamaica, but soon to attain hurricane strength, and expected to slam into the Yucatan Peninsula, just north of Belize City.
However, this might not be the end of Ernesto, for models show him remaining in form to perhaps strengthen again in the Gulf.