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Hank briefs us on the current status of the Mars Science Laboratory, and gives us a taste of what we can hope to see coming from it in the next few months, and during the rest of its two year mission.

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References:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/

Previous SciShow episodes about Curiosity:
The Curiosity Rover Landing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4YqNoLkmxE
Top 5 Coolest Things about Curiosity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB2eB2qH2-A
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Hank Green: Greetings again from SciShow News Mission Control, where no, we won't shut up about the Mars Curiosity Rover because it's the best. I freakin' love it. And since Monday's update, that plutonium powered Martin mini-cooper along with NASA's Mars orbiters have taken more than 1500 images giving us plenty to mull and marvel over.  First, you hopefully stayed up with me to watch JPL track the landing of Curiosity, but what I really wanted all that time was to actually see it making its descent, and now we can. As Curiosity careened toward the Martian surface, still attached to its 16 meter parachute, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was nearby to capture its descent in action. On Monday night, NASA released this amazing photograph taken by the orbiters high-rise camera from 340km away. And as if Curiosity's flawless, beautifully orchestrated landing wasn't enough to prove how totally on the ball NASA's engineers are, they programmed the high-rise to take this image three days before the actual event. If either craft had been one second too early or too late, HiRISE scientist Sarah Milkovich said we would be looking at an empty Martian landscape in this picture. 

Plus, here's some new math to show you how perfectly NASA and JPL stuck this landing. The green diamond in this image shows where Curiosity actually set down its wheels, the target for the landing was the center of the blue ellipse, so the craft landed only two km away from its target. Two frickin' kilometers, the average distance between the Earth and Mars is 225 million km which means the deviation from Curiosity's landing target was infinitesimally small fraction of the total distance traveled. So small that I can't remember the number of zeroes that go before it, so I'm just going to put it on the screen.

Since making this amazing landing, Curiosity has been giving us a good feel of the lay of the Martian land. Late Monday, it began sending back images of its surroundings, including the first picture of its scientific target, the five and a half kilometer high Mount Sharp. Engineers aimed to drive Curiosity to the base of the mountain to study its lower layers, which hold important clues to Mars' geological past. But first, our intrepid friend is going to spend a month going through what's called the characterization activity phase, which it'll spend blowing and testing instruments and getting a feel for how they work in the Martian environment. This started yesterday, with the deployment of Curiosity's high-gain antenna, which it'll use to relay data back to Earth by bouncing them off the orbiters, and it also began taking its first measurements of radiation levels, wind speed, and the temperature in Gale crater. Today, engineers are redirecting the antenna to get a clearer signal, and will also deploy the remote sensing mask, the head and neck of the vehicle that holds the primary color camera, and the top mounted laser. Of course, all of this takes time, especially when Mars is 14 light minutes away, and every command takes a half an hour just to get there and get back to us, so hold on, everybody who's asking why there aren't any freakin' high def, color pictures of the Martian landscape. We'll be getting them soon. And not only that, but some pretty epic video as well. I cannot wait. This is only the beginning of Curiosity's two-year mission, my friends, and SciShow News is in it for the long haul, so keep watching us for more updates. 

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter, and if you want to keep getting smarter with us, you can go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe.

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