Blogs

Mars Landing Special: Aug 5th 10PM PDT


Think space exploration ended with the space shuttle? Come with us to Mars!


On August 5th at 10 PM Pacific/1 AM Eastern, Jonathan Strickland (HowStuffWorks.com) and I will bring you an hour of coverage of the Curiosity Rover's crazy attempt to land on Mars via a sky crane.

We'll have reports from expert guests, like Dr. Kiki (who I hear will be inside Ames!) and the Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait. We'll hear from Steve Sell, JPL Entry/Descent/Landing team member and Sky Crane specialist, about why this whole thing isn't as crazy as it sounds, how it's going to work, and the tech they'll use to make it happen.


The Scoop


On Sunday August 5th at 1:31 AM eastern time/10:31 PM Pacific NASA expects to receive the first signals from the Mars Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars. The Mars Science Laboratory Mission will explore terrain at the foot of a mountain of sedimentary material inside Gale crater. It's looking for evidence of microbial life.

NASA is attempting the most complex remote landing sequence ever attempted, involving a parachute and a sky crane. It takes 14 minutes for signals to travel from Mars to Earth. From the top of the atmosphere to landing, the descent will take 7 minutes. From the time the first signal arrives on Earth that descent has begun, the Curiosity Rover will have been on the surface of Mars for at least seven minutes, crashed or not.

If you haven't watched "Seven minutes of terror" yet, by all means do so. The landing logistics are insane.