NASA's Huge Mars Rover Curiosity: 11 Amazing Facts

Falling to the Red Planet


MEDLI isn't one of Curiosity's 10 instruments, since it's built into the heat shield that will protect the rover on its descent through the Martian atmosphere. But it's worth a few words here.

MEDLI will measure the temperatures and pressures the heat shield experiences as the MSL spacecraft streaks through the Martian sky. This information will tell engineers how well the heat shield, and their models of the spacecraft's trajectory, performed.

Researchers will use MEDLI data to improve designs for future Mars-bound spacecraft.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.