Surprising things about the Mars rover

  1. Curiosity did not land with an airbag
    Unlike the rovers before her, Curiosity was gently placed on the ground by the "Skycrane." Previous rovers used an airbag and bounced a few times before it landed.
  2. The rover is fairly autonomous
    Most people think you can drive the rover with stick. There is about a 20 min round trip seat to communicate with Mars. The rover gets instructions and then figures out what to do best it can.
  3. Lots of names/signatures went up with Curiosity
    During construction, guests who went to see the progress were invited to sign their name. Those names were scanned and sent along with the rover.
  4. A bear stowed away on the rover.
    Ok - not really. One day a bear wandered onto the center and made the news. Shortly after someone started a Twitter account for the bear claiming his intent and plans to be the first bear on Mars.
  5. During the flight to Mars the rover mostly stayed still and Mars came to it
    Orbital mechanics is hard. The rover had to travel a relative distance of about 1 million miles per day. However most of the distance traversed is because Earth moved away and Mars moved closer to the rover.