A recent comment on UKMA’s Facebook page has prompted Metric Views to look into NASA’s latest mission to Mars. This is reported to have landed at 06:32 BST on Monday 6 August.
Frank Davidson wrote the following on Sunday on the UKMA Facebook page:
“I’ve been watching NASA streams recently ahead of the Mars landing (anticipated
2012-08-06 05:31 hours zulu). There has been a mix of imperial and metric used in the press conference (but hopefully not in the lander and rover).”
So what is Curiosity, what is its purpose, and how come it has so far escaped the fate of the Mars Climate Orbiter of 1999, which was lost because of a measurement muddle?
NASA’s web site is largely metric, with English/USC in brackets:
This looks promising, and the story from the BBC’s science correspondent is also entirely metric:
However the account on the BBC one o’clock news was Imperial. I wonder what happened there. Do the two parts of the organisation not communicate?
And the purpose of the mission? A BBC Horizon programme broadcast on 30 July 2012 suggested it would look for evidence of life on Mars.