03.21.2017 Break in Raised Tread on Curiosity Wheel
02.27.2017 Swirling Dust in Gale Crater, Mars, Sol 1613
02.27.2017 Dust Devil Passes Near Martian Sand Dune
02.27.2017 Sand Moving Under Curiosity, One Day to Next
12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
09.19.2016 Ribbon Cutting
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 5)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 4)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 3)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 2)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 1)
08.26.2016 Out-of-this-World Records
03.30.2016 Erisa Hines
03.30.2016 Buzz Aldrin
02.12.2016 Women in Science
02.09.2016 Adam Steltzner, a JPL engineer
01.27.2016 Night Close-up of Martian Sand Grains
01.27.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at Martian Sand Dune
12.17.2015 Alteration Effects at Gale and Gusev Craters
12.17.2015 Full-Circle View Near 'Marias Pass' on Mars
12.11.2015 Surface Close-up of a Martian Sand Dune
12.11.2015 Martian Sand Disturbed by Rover Wheel
Radiation Assessment Detector for Mars Science LaboratoryThis instrument, shown prior to its September 2010 installation onto NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, will aid future human missions to Mars by providing information about the radiation environment on Mars and on the way to Mars.
It is the Radiation Assessment Detector, or RAD, one of 10 science instruments for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, which will land Curiosity on Mars in August 2012. Southwest Research Insitute, in San Antonio, Texas, and Boulder, Colo., supplied this instrument in collaboration with Germany's national aerospace research center, Deutschen Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt. This image shows the flight hardware, with a red "remove before flight" cover on top of the instrument's telescope.
The Radiation Assessment Detector will monitor high-energy atomic and subatomic particles from the sun, from distant supernovas and from other natural sources. These particles are natural radiation that could be harmful to astronauts on a Mars mission or to any microbes near the surface of Mars.
The installed instrument's telescope faces upward from a position near the front left corner of Curiosity's deck, with a 65-degree field of view. Two kinds of detectors in the instrument monitor charged particles. A third type detects neutral particles produced by charged-particle radiation's interaction with the Martian atmosphere or ground.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI