Given the planet's freezing temperatures and violent dust storms, waking up on Mars is probably even tougher than early mornings on Earth. Luckily for the Curiosity rover, though, it's roused from its slumbers every morning by a lively tune, hand-picked by NASA mission control.
Yesterday, engineers and scientists on the Curiosity mission answered questions submitted by the public on the social news website Reddit, one of which asked whether the rover was greeted with a song each morning.
The crew members revealed that the rover has so far woken up to a diverse selection of tracks, including ‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’ by The Doors, ‘Come Fly with Me’ by Frank Sinatra, 'Theme from Mission: Impossible', and Richard Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’.
Curiosity arrived on Mars on Monday 6 August (UK time) and soon began beaming photos of its new home back to Earth. The car-sized rover is currently getting ready for its first drive – possibly during the coming week – and will then begin its primary task: searching for evidence that Mars may once have harboured life.
The wake-up playlists for the previous two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, were just as varied as Curiosity’s, including songs by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Diana Ross, Pink Floyd, Queen and the Rolling Stones. And, like Curiosity, Spirit was woken on its first Martian morning by The Beatles’ ‘Good Morning Good Morning’.
What songs do you think should be played in the mission control room for the Curiosity rover? Tweet your suggestions to twitter.com/sciencefocus and the best three will win a DVD of the BBC series Human Planet.
Written by Jennifer Harris