A Golden Parachute: This One’s About to Land on Mars
By David S. Samuels
I admit it – I’m absolutely giddy about the upcoming August 5th landing of the Mars Science Laboratory, also known as “Curiosity”. Ever since its launch on November 26, 2011, I’ve been counting down the days to landing. You see, I’m one of those who believe there’s life out there and I’m hoping that Curiosity’s lab will find definitive proof – that’s its primary task. Even if the proof is historical, i.e., that Mars once supported life, that’s enough for me… at least for now.
However, while we’ve landed on Mars before, a successful landing can never be taken for granted – it’s quite complicated for many, many reasons. Among them, Curiosity and the Mars Science Lab are collectively the size of a mid-size automobile; far larger and heavier than its predecessors – the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. Not only is Curiosity big, heavy and carrying sensitive instrumentation, all essential to the mission, the overall craft is approaching Mars’ atmosphere at 13,000 mph, and this will be the first landing of its kind – first by parachute, and then by the new Skycrane.
Click to watch 7 Minutes of Terror, a one-of-a-kind short film about the Mars landing
As jets slow the craft, under supersonic pressure, from a scorching 13,000 mph to 1,000 mph, a lightweight parachute, weighing only around 100 lbs. itself, will need to slow the craft enough to permit its sci-fi-esque Skycrane to deploy and lower Curiosity, on cables, to the Martian surface. Wow!
Just what kind of parachute is needed? A really, really big chute – one where each individual thread must support 2,000 pounds of weight. Do ya think NASA/JPL’s parachute guys want to get this right? You better believe they do.
The following video, titled The Martians: Testing Curiosity’s Parachute, is the first in a 4-episode short-documentary series. The parachute guys, as they’re credited in the videos, test Curiosity’s chute in the world’s largest wind tunnel, found at the Ames Research Center. As they quickly learn, testing leads to failure, and failure leads to understanding (as originally expressed by Burt Rutan, the 2004 X-Prize winner).
Watch the testing, skillfully captured by a battery of high-definition, 35mm, and high-speed camera’s orchestrated by a crew of NASA’s finest filmmakers.
Click to watch Part 1 of 4: The Martians: Testing Curiosity’s Parachute
Mark your calendar for Sunday, August 5th. The excitement begins late, 10:24 pm PDT, when Curiosity enters Mars’ atmosphere. After that, as you’ve seen in the first video above, we’ll go through the 7 minutes of terror together, and another 7 minutes thereafter, as that’s how long it will take any signal from the surface of Mars to reach our little blue marble, Earth.
Suffice it to say, the parachute at the center of this story is no ordinary chute. Let’s hope it’s Golden!
7 Minutes of Terror and The Martians: Testing Curiosity’s Parachute were filmed, produced, directed, scored and edited by John Beck Hofmann for JPL. John is also the producer of Tyranny, the hit, and timely, international conspiracy series playing exclusively on KoldCast TV.
Click to watch Episode 1 of John Beck Hofmann’s series Tyranny
A man begins having visions of a threatening future which leads him on a worldwide journey to expose a twisted conspiracy involving giant corporations which monitor and control the lives of millions of people.
On November 22, 1999, 30-year-old San Francisco artist, Daniel McCarthy, volunteers for what was to be a harmless grad student’s neurological experiment to record brainwave patterns in connection to various tasks. When he returns home, he makes the shocking discovery that he’s been missing for eight days and has no memory of where he’s been or what he might have done. Daniel begins to conduct sensory deprivation experiments in his downtown loft in an effort to jog his memory. Visions of what appear to be future events involving corporations that don’t yet exist, political events which have not yet occurred and the ultimate deaths of millions of people pour out from deep within his subconscious. These terrifying visions set Daniel on a mission to understand them fully in an effort to stop them from taking place.
After many years of his quest, for the truth, Daniel leads an underground revolution against those who are responsible for the turmoil that is to come.
David S. Samuels is the CEO of KoldCast Entertainment Media, LLC, home to KoldCast TV, the first and leading international discovery network for premium original television programming produced by the industry’s finest creative talents.