Bradbury Landing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bradbury Landing - the Curiosity Rover Landing Site (14 August 2012).
MSL debris field (17 August 2012). Parachute landed 615 m (2,018 ft) away.[1] (3-D: rover/parachute)
Map of Gale Crater with Aeolis Mons rising in the middle of the crater.

Bradbury Landing is the 6 August 2012, landing site within Gale crater on planet Mars of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover. On 22 August 2012 on what would have been his 92nd birthday, NASA named the site for author Ray Bradbury, who had died on 5 June 2012.[2][3] The coordinates of the landing site on Mars are: 4°35′22″S 137°26′30″E / 4.5895°S 137.4417°E / -4.5895; 137.4417Coordinates: 4°35′22″S 137°26′30″E / 4.5895°S 137.4417°E / -4.5895; 137.4417.[4][5]

The rover drove away from this specific landing location in the summer of 2012, but because of the nature of landing there is no actual lander there. The track prints and blast marks are slowly blowing away in the Martian wind, as recorded by Mars orbiters.


Gale Crater was the MSL landing site in 2012.[6][7][8] Within Gale Crater is a mountain, named Aeolis Mons ("Mount Sharp"),[9][10][11] of layered rocks, rising about 5.5 km (18,000 ft) above the crater floor, that Curiosity will investigate. The landing site is a smooth region in "Yellowknife" Quad 51[12][13][14][15] of Aeolis Palus inside the crater in front of the mountain. The target landing site location was an elliptical area 20 by 7 km (12.4 by 4.3 mi).[16] Gale Crater's diameter is 154 km (96 mi). The final landing location for the rover was less than 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from the center of the planned landing ellipse, after a 563,000,000 km (350,000,000 mi) journey.[17]

The landing site contains material washed down from the wall of the crater, which will provide scientists with the opportunity to investigate the rocks that form the bedrock in this area. The landing ellipse also contains a rock type that is very dense, very brightly colored, and unlike any rock type previously investigated on Mars. It may be an ancient playa lake deposit, and it will likely be the mission's first target in checking for the presence of organic molecules.[18]

A rock outcrop near the landing site has been named "Goulburn". This rock outcrop, along with several others further eastward, including "Link" and "Hottah", suggest the "vigorous" flow of water in an ancient streambed.[19][20][21]

An area of top scientific interest for Curiosity lies at the edge of the landing ellipse and beyond a dark dune field. Here, orbiting instruments have detected signatures of both clay minerals and sulfate salts.[22] Scientists studying Mars have several hypotheses about how these minerals reflect changes in the Martian environment, particularly changes in the amount of water on the surface of Mars. The rover will use its full instrument suite to study these minerals and how they formed. Certain minerals, including the clay and sulfate-rich layers near the bottom of Gale's mountain, are good at latching onto organic compounds—potential biosignatures—and protecting them from oxidation.[23]

Two canyons were cut in the mound through the layers containing clay minerals and sulfate salts after deposition of the layers. These canyons expose layers of rock representing tens or hundreds of millions of years of environmental change. Curiosity may be able to investigate these layers in the canyon closest to the landing ellipse, gaining access to a long history of environmental change on the planet. The canyons also contain sediment that was transported by the water that cut the canyons;[24] this sediment interacted with the water, and the environment at that time may have been habitable. Thus, the rocks deposited at the mouth of the canyon closest to the landing ellipse form the third target in the search for organic molecules.[citation needed]

On 27 March 2015, NASA reported the landing site was fading from view in the two-and-a-half years since landing in 2012.

Curiosity rover view from Bradbury Landing (9 August 2012)[25]

Ray Bradbury[edit]

On naming the location, Michael Meyer, NASA program scientist for Curiosity, said "This was not a difficult choice for the science team. Many of us and millions of other readers were inspired in our lives by stories Ray Bradbury wrote to dream of the possibility of life on Mars."[2] Bradbury wrote the 1950 novel The Martian Chronicles about indigenous Martians and the American exploration and settlement of Mars.[2] The Curiosity team left a message on Twitter "In tribute, I dedicate my landing spot on Mars to you, Ray Bradbury. Greetings from Bradbury Landing!"[2] As part of the naming, NASA released a video of Bradbury from 1971 reading his poem "If Only We Had Taller Been" which is about the human quest to explore space.[26][27]

In honor of the naming of Bradbury Landing, NASA released a video of Ray Bradbury from 1971 reading his poem, "If Only We Had Taller Been" (poem begins at 2:20, full text[26]).
Acheron FossaeAcidalia PlanitiaAlba MonsAmazonis PlanitiaAonia PlanitiaArabia TerraArcadia PlanitiaArgentea PlanumArgyre PlanitiaChryse PlanitiaClaritas FossaeCydonia MensaeDaedalia PlanumElysium MonsElysium PlanitiaGale craterHadriaca PateraHellas MontesHellas PlanitiaHesperia PlanumHolden craterIcaria PlanumIsidis PlanitiaJezero craterLomonosov craterLucus PlanumLycus SulciLyot craterLunae PlanumMalea PlanumMaraldi craterMareotis FossaeMareotis TempeMargaritifer TerraMie craterMilankovič craterNepenthes MensaeNereidum MontesNilosyrtis MensaeNoachis TerraOlympica FossaeOlympus MonsPlanum AustralePromethei TerraProtonilus MensaeSirenumSisyphi PlanumSolis PlanumSyria PlanumTantalus FossaeTempe TerraTerra CimmeriaTerra SabaeaTerra SirenumTharsis MontesTractus CatenaTyrrhen TerraUlysses PateraUranius PateraUtopia PlanitiaValles MarinerisVastitas BorealisXanthe TerraMap of Mars
The image above contains clickable links Interactive image map of the global topography of Mars, overlain with locations of Mars Memorial sites. Hover your mouse over the image to see the names of over 60 prominent geographic features, and click to link to them. Coloring of the base map indicates relative elevations, based on data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor. Whites and browns indicate the highest elevations (+12 to +8 km); followed by pinks and reds (+8 to +3 km); yellow is 0 km; greens and blues are lower elevations (down to −8 km). Axes are latitude and longitude; Polar regions are noted.
(   Named  Debris  Lost )
Beagle 2
Deep Space 2
Mars 2
Mars 3
Mars 6
Mars Polar Lander
Schiaparelli EDM lander
Viking 1
Viking 2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Amos, Jonathan (7 August 2012). "Nasa's Curiosity rover pictured on Mars by MRO satellite". BBC News. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Flood, Alison (23 August 2012). "Curiosity Martian landing point named after Ray Bradbury". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  3. ^ Brown, Dwayne; Cole, Steve; Webster, Guy; Agle, D.C. (22 August 2012). "NASA Mars Rover Begins Driving at Bradbury Landing". NASA. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  4. ^ MSNBC Staff (6 August 2012). "Video from rover looks down on Mars during landing". NBC News. Retrieved 7 October 2012.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ Young, Monica (7 August 2012). "Watch Curiosity Descend onto Mars". Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  6. ^ Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (22 July 2011). "NASA's Next Mars Rover To Land At Gale Crater". NASA JPL. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  7. ^ Chow, Dennis (22 July 2011). "NASA's Next Mars Rover to Land at Huge Gale Crater". Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  8. ^ Amos, Jonathan (22 July 2011). "Mars rover aims for deep crater". BBC News. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  9. ^ Agle, D. C. (28 March 2012). "'Mount Sharp' On Mars Links Geology's Past and Future". NASA. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  10. ^ Staff (29 March 2012). "NASA's New Mars Rover Will Explore Towering 'Mount Sharp'". Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  11. ^ NASA Staff (27 March 2012). "'Mount Sharp' on Mars Compared to Three Big Mountains on Earth". NASA. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  12. ^ NASA Staff (10 August 2012). "Curiosity's Quad - IMAGE". NASA. Retrieved 11 August 2012.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ Agle, DC; Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (9 August 2012). "NASA's Curiosity Beams Back a Color 360 of Gale Crate". NASA. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  14. ^ Amos, Jonathan (9 August 2012). "Mars rover makes first colour panorama". BBC News. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  15. ^ Halvorson, Todd (9 August 2012). "Quad 51: Name of Mars base evokes rich parallels on Earth". USA Today. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  16. ^ Amos, Jonathan (12 June 2012). "Nasa's Curiosity rover targets smaller landing zone". BBC News. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  17. ^ "'Impressive' Curiosity landing only 1.5 miles off, NASA says". CNN. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  18. ^ "Context of Curiosity Landing Site in Gale Crater". NASA. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  19. ^ Brown, Dwayne; Cole, Steve; Webster, Guy; Agle, D.C. (27 September 2012). "NASA Rover Finds Old Streambed On Martian Surface". NASA. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  20. ^ NASA (27 September 2012). "NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds Old Streambed on Mars -video (51:40)". NASAtelevision. Retrieved 28 September 2012.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  21. ^ Chang, Alicia (27 September 2012). "Mars rover Curiosity finds signs of ancient stream". AP News. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  22. ^ "Canyons on Mountain Inside Gale Crater". NASA. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  23. ^ Webster, Guy; Dwayne Brown (22 July 2011). "NASA's Next Mars Rover to Land at Gale Crater". NASA. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  24. ^ "Lower Portion of Mound Inside Gale Crater". NASA. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  25. ^ Greicius, Tony (11 August 2012). "Wall of Gale Crater (9 August 2012)". NASA. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  26. ^ a b Jessie Lendennie, ed. (2006). "If Only We Had Taller Been". Daughter and Other Poems. Salmon Publishing. pp. 57–58. ISBN 9781903392102.
  27. ^ "Curiosity Landing Site Named for Ray Bradbury". NASA. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.

External links[edit]