On the 7th day of Christmas, ScienceforLife gave to me:
- Seven terrible minutes*;
- Six tweeps a-tweeting;
- Five bulk gold rings;
- Four extinct birds;
- A 3D shape;
- Two Venus transits; and
- Planets that resemble a tree.
*When NASA’s Curiosity rover approached Mars on August 6 2012, it had to enter the Martian atmosphere, slow down, pass through it and then land safely. The entire process was referred to as The Seven Minutes of Terror: the entry-descent-landing procedure combined with the time taken for data to travel from Mars to Earth meant that when NASA staff first received information that Curiosity had reached the outer edge of Mars’ atmosphere, in reality it had already arrived ‘dead or alive’ on the surface of the red planet. Seven minutes later they received confirmation the landing too had been a success. Curiosity has since collected an incredible album of colour photographs and performed soil and chemical analysis on Mars.
[image thanks to jasonb42882 on flickr]