Ever wondered what is actually out there in space? Well you don’t need a space suit to find out. You don’t even have to set foot inside a space craft. You may have seen or read in the news about NASA’s Mars Rover called Curiosity which is a robot designed for exploring the surface of the planet Mars.
Sent up into space by scientists at NASA, Curiosity has already sent back some interesting finds, from rocks with unusual compositions, and soil that is very similar to that found in Hawaii. The robot is made of different parts which have been developed by scientists and engineers to do different jobs. For example, it has high definition cameras, so we can see what is on Mars, and special wheels and tyres, for navigating the surface of the planet. Curiosity can even scoop up samples and use its specialist equipment to analyse rock samples so it can tell us what Mars is made of.
You may wonder what the point is of exploring space but from this kind of research we can tell what is actually out there, it can explain the history of our solar system, it may also help us develop new technologies which can be useful for everyone here on Earth and for some there is always the hope of finding extra terrestrial life.
However, sending such technology into space can be quite tricky and requires the work of skilled scientists and engineers. Not only does technology need to be developed to work whilst in space, or on a different planet but space craft are needed to get it there. We already have rockets and spacecraft to get robots and humans there but engineers are now working to design and develop ways that we can access and explore space at a lower cost.
If you think you have the curiosity and drive to find what is out there you could be involved as:
- A technical designer – designing and developing reusable, low cost access to space
- An aerospace engineer – developing space vehicles
- A structural engineer – creating space satellites and helping to monitor space
- A space research scientist – studying different aspects of space and space travel and developing new technologies like the Curiosity rover
- An astrobiologist – using information collected from space to explore the building blocks of life
The image within this article is courtesy of NASA