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Life, Unbounded

Life, Unbounded


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Curiosity Across the Stars

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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This is not a comet, it's Curiosity on its way to Mars

This, I guarantee, is a view of NASA’s Curiosity rover embarking on its 250 day trip to Mars that you may not have seen before. It’s an extraordinary piece of time-lapse footage taken from Australia not long after launch from Cape Canaveral. It shows a glowing plume from the Centaur stage after a burn over the Indian Ocean – the Centaur rocket has propelled Curiosity first into a low-Earth orbit and then into an escape trajectory towards Mars. You can also see the sunlit spacecraft itself, a tiny speck gliding across the star-fields of the Milky Way as it heads for interplanetary space.

Bon voyage Curiosity!

With thanks to the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

Caleb A. Scharf About the Author: Caleb Scharf is the director of Columbia University's multidisciplinary Astrobiology Center. He has worked in the fields of observational cosmology, X-ray astronomy, and more recently exoplanetary science. His books include Gravity's Engines (2012) and The Copernicus Complex (2014) (both from Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux.) Follow on Twitter @caleb_scharf.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Postman1 9:44 pm 11/30/2011

    WOW!! Probably the last view of Curiosity until the Mars colonists find the rover. Thanks!

    Link to this

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