Voyage of Curiosity

2017, Science  -  54 min Leave a Comment
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In November of 2011, NASA's Curiosity Rover embarked on its revolutionary mission to Mars. Less than a year later, it reached its destination. Voyage of Curiosity details the challenges of mounting this epic project, and what it hopes to find on the elusive red planet.

The mission has been driven by key questions. Could life has ever existed on Mars? Is the planet currently safe enough to allow for human exploration?

The film outlines the efforts to design, construct and test the groundbreaking rover technology. Every potential flaw is put to the test and modified whenever necessary. We witness the engineers working through this process in their testing labs, all anxious but hopeful about the untraveled road ahead.

Landing near the base of an imposing mountain known as Mount Sharp, the rover arrives on the planet surface with surprising accuracy and without major defects. Its exploration begins, sending a series of stunning images back home along the way.

The film features a wealth of these digital photos, as well as startlingly realistic recreations of the rover's journeys across the planet. The machine is equipped with 17 cameras of varying resolution and purpose. Some send back lower resolution images that can be stitched together to form panoramic views of landscapes, while another can read the chemical compounds present in the terrain.

Other gauges monitor the atmosphere, temperature, humidity, and wind speeds. From the outset, the rover observes several factors that lead to a greater understanding of the planet's history. For instance, there was a time when Mars had a thicker protective atmosphere and housed an abundance of water. Life might have flourished on Mars at one time.

The rover has worked to collect evidence for years now, but every day is a new challenge. The most random event can incapacitate the rover. In the meantime, the rover profoundly deepened our understanding of the planet to a degree that it is redefined the history and future of space exploration.

With its soothing and engrossing narration, stellar visuals and clearly articulated science, the film is a terrific testament to the ingenuity that has brought us to this place in time and will carry us forward into more uncharted territories.