A $2.5 billion project

On August 6th, 2012 the Curiosity rover landed on Martian soil.

A $2.5 billion project. Failure was not an option. 
It was delivered.

A one-ton six-wheeled robot powered with a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, equipped with autonomous navigation system and seventeen high resolution cameras.

At a same time, a "state of the art" science laboratory carrying special instruments including, among others, a laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) able to vaporize pieces of rocks to analyze the spectrum.
It is built to withstand radiations. It serves as a microscope, with less than 15 microns of definition. It can communicate in both X band and UHF bands.


Inside an "AeroShell" and protected by the biggest thermal shield ever used for space applications, it ran at 21 600 km/h for less than 9 months. 

After a journey of more than 560 millions of km (350 millions of miles) it landed on Mars surface recording just a very few km difference from the center of the planned landing ellipses. Really impressive.

It is now on its way to the first major milestone, called Glenelg, where the mobile laboratory will start analyzing Mars environment. In the last weeks, it has driven for approximately 100 meters.
No rush, it has other 2 years of work out there.

Project History

NASA started to require proposals since April 2004.

More than seven years for procurement, construction and testing.
Then...launching phase, a long journey and the descent, which required a project (called EDL) in the project.
In between 2012 and 2014, the Curiosity will be on duty onto the red planet.
Ten years of hard work, a milestone for humanity.


This explorer will determine Mars habitability and its climate, prior to a possible next manned mission. I can only imagine how much proud Mr. Pete Theisinger feels about such a glaring achievement.

By the way, he is the project manager.

When I think about the efforts that professionals like him put every day in their job to provide guidance and meet the targets, I really believe this role is more than just what two words can convey.

Project management matters and it is about people, motivation, enthusiasm, leadership, talent, listening, expertise, charisma. And of course, passion.