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Old July 19 2012, 11:18 PM   #14
Fleet Captain
Location: Pittsburgh PA, USA
Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

I have more faith that it can work. The skycrane is kind of an evolution of the airbag system used on Mars Pathfinder. In both cases, jets reduce the velocity of the craft to zero. The differences:

Pathfinder was cut from a higher altitude, so it had to bounce, hence the reason for the airbags.

Curiosity jettisons it's exterior shell (to save weight) before firing its engines to slow its decent. It goes to 0 velocity much lower to the ground, so the rover is lowered gently.

There are big differences, but much of it is just an evolution of earlier systems.
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