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The Challenges of Getting to Mars

The Challenges of Getting to Mars
Mars is right next door to Earth, but it isn't very neighborly. Two-thirds of all international missions have failed, but an undaunted human spirit and hard work keep us on a path to explore Mars - a world so much like our own, but much more hostile and uninviting. In this Challenges of Getting to Mars web series, Mars Exploration Rover team members describe the challenges of getting to Mars and maneuvering on the surface once the rovers are there.
Launch
Weather Dangers and Delays
The rover launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida is the "Lightning Capital of the United States." Launching a spacecraft safely is challenging enough. Learn how the Force of Nature intercepted the Rover Team's efforts to launch Spirit for two days.
QuickTime 7 MB
MPEG 7 MB
QuickTime With Caption 7.2 MB
Two Launches: Spirit and Opportunity
The first episode documents the hurdles leading up to both launches. From Mother Nature being uncooperative to a problem with the cork insulation on the rocket, lift-off was no small feat. Ultimately the rover team rejoiced as their twins left the nest and headed for Mars.
QuickTime 7 MB
MPEG 7 MB
QuickTime With Caption 7.5 MB
Cruise
Testing the Rovers for the Treacherous Martian Terrain Testing the Rovers for the Treacherous Martian Terrain
See how the scientists and engineers on Earth stretch their imaginations to design the best rover system to deal with the unpredictable dangerous terrain on Mars. Rover team members at Jet Propulsion Laboratory are currently testing the limitations of the rovers through engineering models on Earth so they can safely maneuver the real rovers on Mars.
QuickTime 8 MB
MPEG 6 MB
QuickTime With Caption 8.1 MB
screenshot from video 'Navigation' Navigation
Navigators may know best that "life is all about the journey." For seven grueling months, the navigators for Spirit and Opportunity have been analyzing millions of lines of data and fine-tuning the course to Mars. Learn more about the Challenges of Getting to Mars from the team who is getting us there.
QuickTime 7 MB
MPEG 8 MB
QuickTime With Caption 7.4 MB

Special thanks to the La Cañada High School Football Team
Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL)
Entry, Descent,  and Landing
Entry, Descent, and Landing
Navigators must safely maneuver Spirit and Opportunity to their precise atmospheric entry points to reach their landing targets on the surface of Mars. In only six minutes, the spacecraft must slow down from an incredible speed of 12,000 mph to nearly zero. In this three-part episode of "The Challenges of Getting to Mars," spacecraft engineers give a play-by-play of the Entry, Decent, and Landing mission phase that they refer to as their nailbiting "Six Minutes of Terror."

Complete Video
QuickTime 20 MB
MPEG 17 MB
QuickTime with Caption 18.7 MB

Part 1
QuickTime 8 MB
QuickTime 10 MB
MPEG 7 MB
QuickTime with Caption 8.2 MB

Part 2
QuickTime 5 MB
QuickTime 6 MB
MPEG 4.5 MB
QuickTime with Caption 5.1 MB

Part 3
QuickTime 6 MB
QuickTime 7 MB
MPEG 5 MB
QuickTime with Caption 5.6 MB

Impact to Egress (ITE)
Impact to Egress
Impact to Egress
Even after the landers and airbags safely bounce to a complete stop on Mars, the challenges of getting to Mars continue. It will take each rover a minimum of nine days to emerge from its lander cocoon, stand up, orient itself, safely unlock its body from the lander, and roll down to the martian ground. In this last episode of the Challenges of Getting to Mars video series, the rover team describes the Impact to Egress phase of getting six wheels on the surface.

Part 1
QuickTime 7.5 MB
MPEG 7.5 MB
QuickTime with Caption 7.1 MB

Part 2
QuickTime 7.5 MB
MPEG 7.5 MB
QuickTime with Caption 7.2 MB

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