The Design and Engineering of Curiosity
By Emily Lakdawalla '96
This book describes the most complex machine ever sent to another planet: Curiosity.
It is a one-ton robot with two brains, seventeen cameras, six wheels, nuclear power, and a laser beam on its head. No one human understands how all of its systems and instruments work. This essential reference to the Curiosity mission explains the engineering behind every system on the rover, from its rocket-powered jetpack to its radioisotope thermoelectric generator to its fiendishly complex sample handling system. Its lavishly illustrated text explains how all the instruments work—its cameras, spectrometers, sample-cooking oven, and weather station—and describes their abilities and limitations. It tells you how the systems have functioned on Mars, and how scientists and engineers have worked around problems developed on a faraway planet: holey wheels and broken focus lasers. And, it explains the grueling mission operations schedule that keeps the rover working day in and day out.