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July 31, 2017 - Boundless Curiosity

Boundless Curiosity  After an eight-month interplanetary trip, the Mars Science Laboratory arrived at Mars five years ago this week. Its automatic entry, descent, and landing phase, known popularly as the “seven minutes of terror,” saw Curiosity survive entry into the Martian atmosphere, decelerate further by employing a series of parachutes, and finally be lowered onto the surface of Mars from a hovering “sky crane.” All of those nail-biting milestones ticked off in rapid succession, completely on schedule, and fully autonomously. Since its arrival at Mars, Curiosity has found, among other things, that Mars once had the right chemistry to support living organisms. Curiosity took this low-angle self-portrait, which includes a hole it drilled in the “Buckskin” target rock, along the flank of Mount Sharp in 2015.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

Weekly Calendar

July 31 - August 6, 2017

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 31

1969: Mariner 6 flies by Mars
1971: First vehicle driven on Moon by Apollo 15 astronauts Scott & Irwin
1992: STS-46 Atlantis launched
1999: Lunar Prospector mission ends

Moon phase Tuesday 1

1818: Maria Mitchell born
1967: Lunar Orbiter V launched
1968: Saturn V production ends
1973: First X-24B lifting body glide test

Moon phase Wednesday 2

Moon at apogee

1971: Apollo 15 lunar module Falcon leaves Moon in first televised lunar liftoff
1991: STS-43 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Thursday 3

Saturn 3° south of Moon
Uranus appears stationary

2004: MESSENGER spacecraft launched to Mercury
2005: First in-flight space shuttle repair

Moon phase Friday 4

1967: NASA announces sixth astronaut class
1984: First Ariane 3 launched
2007: Phoenix Mars Lander launched

Moon phase Saturday 5

1930: Neil Armstrong born
1966: Final M2-F1 lifting body glide test
1969: Mariner 7 flies by Mars
: Juno spacecraft launched to Jupiter

Moon phase Sunday 6

1961: Vostok 2 launched, first full-day human space mission, Gherman Titov first person to sleep in space
2012: Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity lands on Mars

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.