Set your alarms: Curiosity rover reaches Mars tonight

posted at 6:31 pm on August 5, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

It’s been eight months and a staggeringly long journey through the void of space, but tonight the wait is finally over. NASA’s Curiousity Rover is, as you read this, on its final approach and will enter the Martian atmosphere at a blistering 13,000 miles per hour at approximately 1:30 AM on the east coast. (10:30 tonight on the left coast.)

Mission control engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles acknowledge that delivering the one-ton, six-wheeled, nuclear-powered vehicle in one piece is a highly risky proposition, with zero margin for error.

But on the eve of Curiosity’s rendezvous with Mars, JPL’s team said the spacecraft and its systems were functioning flawlessly, and forecasts called for favorable Martian weather over the landing zone.

After a journey from Earth of more than 350 million miles (567 million km), engineers said they were hopeful the rover, the size of a small sports car, will land precisely as planned near the foot of a tall mountain rising from the floor of Gale Crater in Mars’ southern hemisphere.

Personally I’ll be happy if it just touches down in one piece anywhere on the surface and can deploy its cameras and antennas. Hitting the precise base of that mountain from this distance makes the prospect of knocking a golf ball for a hole in one in Las Vegas from Staten Island look like a cakewalk. I know it may not be this interesting to everyone, but I’ve been nervously following this story since before the launch and, frankly, I wonder if there’s even a fifty-fifty shot that they’ll pull it off.

In case you somehow haven’t seen it yet, the following Sci-Show video contains the NASA simulation of how the landing will be achieved, assuming they make it.

This three stage maneuver relies on air braking, the biggest supersonic parachute ever deployed, a detachable rocket powered descent module after that and a (wait for it…) sky crane. And every one one of them has to fire in sequence at precisely the right moment – all without any human control or input – or Curiosity will turn into a $2.5B crater in the surface. If they manage this feat, I think NASA will truly be “back” and looking like they can do almost anything. If they crash, I seriously doubt they’ll see much significant funding for some time to come.

I don’t know about you, but I’m setting my alarm and I’ll be watching. CNN is claiming they’ll be covering it live, along with the Science Channel. But just in case they drop the ball, you can tune in on your computers to the NASA TV feed. Engineers and astrophysicists will be offering analysis and taking questions leading up to the big moment. Cross your fingers and toes, kids. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

I wonder if we’ll get more pictures of red rocks!

/

mankai on August 5, 2012 at 6:35 PM

I want more space exploration funding. But part of me feels like the private sector will be what really propels us forward on this.

NorthernCross on August 5, 2012 at 6:36 PM

NASA Tv coverage startes at 9:30PM EST.

Money well spent, or not, the critter is set to try, and it has a Stars and Stripes on it.

Limerick on August 5, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Did I read nuclear powered right? How’s that work?

El_Terrible on August 5, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Did I read nuclear powered right? How’s that work?

El_Terrible on August 5, 2012 at 6:38 PM

The same way the Voyagers are pushing past the heliosphere. Heat = electricity.

Limerick on August 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Yeah, but are the muslims happy with this?

*Actually, this is truly amazing. In 100 years people will probably look back and laugh at the amateurish-ness of it all.

SouthernGent on August 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

And every one one of them has to fire in sequence at precisely the right moment – all without any human control or input

Human control and input isn’t necessary or wanted. Would you really want someone cooped up in a spaceship for eight months making life and death decisions at 9 gees?

Five Surveyor ships landed on the Moon in 1966-67 with computers having the brains of a kitchen microwave oven. Curiosity has a nav computer tens of millions of times more powerful. Again, the only thing preventing a successful landing would be human intervention.

DarthBrooks on August 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

I watch that video and can’t help but thinking, yeah, this is a government operation. who else could come up with such a complicated, convoluted sequence of events?

That being said, I hope it comes off without a hitch.

catmman on August 5, 2012 at 6:42 PM

!SPLAT!

Consider how the 0bma Regime has effected NASA and our space programs and you too will see why I think this will fail.

DannoJyd on August 5, 2012 at 6:43 PM

If there are little green men, will they also have little green cats? This craft is going to be barreling into Mars at 20000 mph, and has got to do some tricky multi-staged slow downs. What if it crash lands on one of them green cats? Curiosity would have killed the cat.
Which reminds me… Romney should walk back his lack of support for Chick Fil A. This misstep could be the curiously inexplicable action that “kills” this cat of a campaign… you can’t sharply diss your own base that way, and expect things not to unravel.

anotherJoe on August 5, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Did I read nuclear powered right? How’s that work?

El_Terrible on August 5, 2012 at 6:38 PM

http://spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av028/111117mmrtg/

The Mars mission’s plutonium generator consists of a nuclear battery that converts decay heat into electricity. It contains 10.6 pounds of radioactive plutonium-238 and solid-state thermocouples that convert the plutonium’s heat energy into electricity, according to NASA.

sharrukin on August 5, 2012 at 6:43 PM

only thing preventing a successful landing would be human intervention.

DarthBrooks on August 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Or a rock exactly in the wrong place.

Limerick on August 5, 2012 at 6:43 PM

I think this will fail.

DannoJyd on August 5, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Not only are you an imbecilic lowlife 0bama fluffin’ dope lovin’ nutball, but that verges on cheering for American failure.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 6:46 PM

“I want it NOW” – Veruca Salt.

RutRoh on August 5, 2012 at 6:47 PM

@sharrukin:

“So we’re polluting the ecosystems on two planets now!” – Ecotard

catmman on August 5, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Thanks for the answers. That’s cool. Hopefully it beats having to rely on dinky solar panels.

El_Terrible on August 5, 2012 at 6:48 PM

I watch that video and can’t help but thinking, yeah, this is a government operation. who else could come up with such a complicated, convoluted sequence of events?

That being said, I hope it comes off without a hitch.

catmman on August 5, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Thank you…I watched the vid and was like…you really expect that all to go off without a hitch?

Hope for the best…expect a nice big radioactive crater.

Rogue on August 5, 2012 at 6:48 PM

one hopes that the bright bulbs at nasa, and the not-so-bright bulbs at cnn et al. will drop the 7 minutes of terror slogan given the last couple of weeks

r keller on August 5, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Wow. thanks for the headsup, Jazz. This mission will be a huge success if the thing lands wheels up. I guess the old vacation adage of “Getting there is half the fun” applies in this case, eh?

very cool stuff. Best of luck NASA.

ted c on August 5, 2012 at 6:50 PM

…expect a nice big radioactive crater.

Rogue on August 5, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Won’t happen, they would not have been able to launch a reactor unless every possibility was prepared for.

NASA goes through heck every time they launch a reactor.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 6:50 PM

@sharrukin:

“So we’re polluting the ecosystems on two planets now!” – Ecotard

catmman on August 5, 2012 at 6:47 PM

That Martian Rock Worm needs to be placed on the endangered species list immediately, and we have to end the madness of sending probes into space!1!!!1!!11!!! /

sharrukin on August 5, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Yeah yeah yeah, so was Mercury, and Gemini, and Apollo, the Shuttle, viking, Voyager, Explorer, and a few dozens of others. It is there. What do you want to do, pray for failure? Turn It around?
Hope Taco Bell billboards are there?

Limerick on August 5, 2012 at 6:51 PM

I think if we can sell those cheap floating helicopters in the 7-11′s and Bed Bath and Beyond that a kid can fly, I feel the adults have this figured out.

of course massive crashing is not out of order here.

and I liked the bubble wrap the last rovers came down in. Bubble wrap, like duct tape. Indespensible.

Scoreboard44 on August 5, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Won’t happen, they would not have been able to launch a reactor unless every possibility was prepared for.

NASA goes through heck every time they launch a reactor.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Hope you’re right. Honestly, the only part I’m really worried about working properly is the sky-crane bit. The rest is tried & true stuff.

Rogue on August 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Again, the only thing preventing a successful landing would be human intervention.

DarthBrooks on August 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

You neglected several other potential failure modes lacking any direct human cause methinks, but hope it goes well.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on August 5, 2012 at 6:56 PM

T-Minus…6 Hrs and about 35 minutes!

Curiosity Rover on Track for Monday Landing
*******************************************

Curiosity Closes in on its New ‘Home’
Sat, 04 Aug 2012 07:20:24 PM EDT
*********************************

With Mars looming ever larger in front of it, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and its Curiosity rover are in the final stages of preparing for entry, descent and landing on the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6). Curiosity remains in good health with all systems operating as expected. Today, the flight team uplinked and confirmed commands to make minor corrections to the spacecraft’s navigation reference point parameters. This afternoon, as part of the onboard sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing, catalyst bed heaters are being turned on to prepare the eight Mars Lander Engines that are part of MSL’s descent propulsion system. As of 2:25 p.m. PDT (5:25 p.m. EDT), MSL was approximately 261,000 miles (420,039 kilometers) from Mars, closing in at a little more than 8,000 mph (about 3,600 meters per second).(More….)

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html

=================================================

http://www.nasa.gov/home/index.html

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 6:57 PM

“And every one one of them has to fire in sequence at precisely the right moment – all without any human control or input…”

I’ve seen this movie before…

… It does not end well for us.

/

Seven Percent Solution on August 5, 2012 at 6:57 PM

If they manage this feat, I think NASA will truly be “back” and looking like they can do almost anything. If they crash, I seriously doubt they’ll see much significant funding for some time to come.

Quick question: which of those two options will make the Muslim world feel better about their level of scientific advancement?

logis on August 5, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Mars has been a notoriously difficult place to land. At one time missions to Mars had about a 50% failure rate, counting the Soviet efforts. That has improved in recent years, but it is still a nerve wracking proposition.

I’ll be working the night shift and out of touch with the media till in the morning. I’ll have several hours to hold my breath waiting.

backwoods conservative on August 5, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Look at the possibilities. Little Green voter registration cards on board supplied by Debbie Wasserman Schultz!

Limerick on August 5, 2012 at 6:58 PM

It contains 10.6 pounds of radioactive plutonium-238 and solid-state thermocouples that convert the plutonium’s heat energy into electricity, according to NASA.

sharrukin on August 5, 2012 at 6:43 PM

sharrukin:Thats a sh*t-load of plutonium!!??:)

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Jazz, you know now you have to have a biting-our-nails thread. Hope you laid in the coffee.

Limerick on August 5, 2012 at 7:01 PM

sharrukin:Thats a sh*t-load of plutonium!!??:)

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Yeah, enough to make a nuclear bomb.

sharrukin on August 5, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Currently we have spacecraft in orbit about Saturn, Mars, Earth, and Mercury. The New Horizons spacecraft is enroute to Pluto, and will make a flyby in three years. There are two solar observatories orbiting the Sun that can help forecast solar storms. Four lunar ships are conducting surveying missions, mapping the Moon to an accuracy of 3 meters. Besides the Hubble Space Telescope, the Kepler Observatory has continued its mission, discovering more than 530 extrasolar planets — fundamentally rewriting our understanding of planetary science (namely, that there are more planets than stars in the sky).

Curiosity will join the still operating Opportunity on the Martian surface, expanding our knowledge daily about the geology and ecology of that planet. And we’re also coming up on the 12th anniversary of continuous human residency of the International Space Station — the largest manned spacecraft in the history of humanity.

And still, people whine about NASA’s lack of “vision”. They’re doing a pretty amazing job in spite of their paltry place in the Federal budget.

DarthBrooks on August 5, 2012 at 7:03 PM

I don’t know about you, but I’m setting my alarm and I’ll be watching.

Would love to watch, but I just got finished driving 620 miles with a jury-rigged cooling system. I intend to be comfortably asleep then.

rbj on August 5, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Look at the possibilities. Little Green voter registration cards on board supplied by Debbie Wasserman Schultz!

Limerick on August 5, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Limerick:

D*mmitt,those freaggin Dems are goin for the
Lizard People Voters,…..again!(sarc):)

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:05 PM

@Limerick:

How ’bout a Chick-Fil-A billboard?

catmman on August 5, 2012 at 7:06 PM

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Yeah, enough to make a nuclear bomb.

sharrukin on August 5, 2012 at 7:03 PM

sharrukin:I’m thinking about 5 to 10 Megatons!!:)

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:06 PM

…along with the Science Channel

For some reason the Science Channel’s Mars Landing 2012 program is listed for tomorrow night but maybe they’re going to have live coverage tonight as well…?

FloatingRock on August 5, 2012 at 7:07 PM

DarthBrooks on August 5, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Here, here!

We are there. We put them out there, to call them too expensive is one thing, to wish the working bots failure is slimy.

Limerick on August 5, 2012 at 7:07 PM

FloatingRock on August 5, 2012 at 7:07 PM

ETA to touch is 00:37 EST 8-6

Limerick on August 5, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Why couldn’t the 3 stooges aka obama, reid, and pelosi been aboard?

LevinFan on August 5, 2012 at 7:10 PM

sharrukin:I’m thinking about 5 to 10 Megatons!!:)

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Naw, kiloton range. For a hydrogen device you need a secondary device with uranium fuel.

The RTG on the spacecraft can’t detonate, so no worries.

sharrukin on August 5, 2012 at 7:10 PM

“And every one one of them has to fire in sequence at precisely the right moment – all without any human control or input…”

I’ve seen this movie before…

… It does not end well for us.

/

Seven Percent Solution on August 5, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Seven Percent Solution: Me Too:)
================================

Colossus The Forbin Project (1970) Full movie
*********************************************

Forbin is the designer

of an sophisticated computer that will run all of America’s nuclear defenses.

Shortly after being turned on, it detects the existence of Guardian, the Soviet counterpart. Both computers insist that they be linked, and after taking safeguards to preserve confidential material, each side agrees to allow it. As soon as the link is established the two become a new Super computer and threaten the world with the immediate launch of nuclear weapons if they are detached.
=========

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4GLbmFdWoU

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Not only are you an imbecilic lowlife 0bama fluffin’ dope lovin’ nutball, but that verges on cheering for American failure.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 6:46 PM

OMG! Your liberal disease is getting out of control. Best go take your meds.

IF you do not believe the 0bama Regime has had a bad effect on our space endeavors then you are fooling only yourself.

DannoJyd on August 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Yeah, enough to make a nuclear bomb.

sharrukin on August 5, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Repeat after me:

Not weapons grade.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Naw, kiloton range. For a hydrogen device you need a secondary device with uranium fuel.

The RTG on the spacecraft can’t detonate, so no worries.

sharrukin on August 5, 2012 at 7:10 PM

sharrukin:Interesting,thanks!:)

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Well IF such a odd, and unexpected, BOOM takes place, won’t it, once and for all, put the Apollo hoax moonbats in the nuthouse? Show me the crater in NM, UT, or AZ!

Limerick on August 5, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Curiosity would have killed the cat.

Groan.

Bouncing Beatnik on August 5, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Someone has to police this thread and be a hall monitor for Uranus jokes.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on August 5, 2012 at 7:20 PM

OMG! Your liberal disease is getting out of control. Best go take your meds.

DannoJyd on August 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Sure sweetie, go back to your choom and cheer for failure.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 7:22 PM

NASA TV Daily Schedule (All Programs Eastern Time Zone)
*******************************************************

August

August 5, Sunday
4 – 6 p.m. – Replay of NASA Social for the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover Landing – HQ (All Channels)
******************************************************

6 – 7 p.m. – NASA Science News Conference – NASA Science Mission Directorate – JPL (All Channels)
11 p.m. – Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover Landing Coverage of Entry Descent and Landing (Commentary #1 Begins 11:30 p.m.) – JPL (Public and Education Channels)
11 p.m. – Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover Landing Coverage of Entry Descent and Landing (Clean Feed with Mission Audio Only) – JPL (Media Channel)
======================

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/MM_NTV_Breaking.html

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on August 5, 2012 at 7:20 PM

I nominate you.

Who will take care of the 0bamabot though?

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Someone has to police this thread and be a hall monitor for Uranus jokes.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on August 5, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Did you know there’s a town in CT named Mianus?

LevinFan on August 5, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Kaor!

profitsbeard on August 5, 2012 at 7:29 PM

NASA

Curiosity Lands on Mars…..live Feed!
======================================

NASASocial Tonight starting at 11p ET/8p PT, join us for live NASA TV coverage of the landing of @MarsCuriosity. Watch at nasa.gov/ntv #MSL 12 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/mars/curiosity_social.html

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Sure sweetie, go back to your choom and cheer for failure.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Thank you for providing proof that supporting any liberal is sure to cause brain damage.

BTW, while I was working last week to get people to the polls this coming Tuesday, you did what?

DannoJyd on August 5, 2012 at 7:30 PM

I hope they pull this off, I doubt they will and there’s my libertarian angel saying,” Give the private sector time, they’ll do this much better!” The fact they are searching for something they won’t find…yeah, I hope they make the landing.

cartooner on August 5, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Well…..if obamacommie wished NASA good luck on this mission, the lander is doomed to become a shattered pile of melted scrap at the bottom of the crater it will make in the martian sand.

That’s the way he rolls. If he wishes someone luck, it’s a cue to his boss (satan) to cause as much misery as possible while insuring failure.

Wolfmoon on August 5, 2012 at 7:32 PM

The seven minutes of terror are upon us

This is simple anxiety. Terror will be on November 6th and at all times when it looks like Benito Obamalini is ahead. And if he is reelceted for the next 4 years as he implements more of his fascist policies.

VorDaj on August 5, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Again, the only thing preventing a successful landing would be human intervention.

DarthBrooks on August 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Just be thankful Obama didn’t think Curiosity was part of the Keystone Pipeline.

VorDaj on August 5, 2012 at 7:38 PM

I don’t know about you, but I’m setting my alarm and I’ll be watching.

Ditto that…I love this stuff. I’m kind of surprised tho that no one at NASA thought about using a clean and green rover made from a slightly modified Chevy Volt. I mean, it’s roughly the same price :/

JetBoy on August 5, 2012 at 7:39 PM

And every one one of them has to fire in sequence at precisely the right moment – all without any human control or input

Yeah, I heard that NASA had handed final guidance over to their Muslim staff of interns to give them a sense of value and self worth. Word is that the ‘Slums picked the crater “Tora Bora” for the landing.

BL@KBIRD on August 5, 2012 at 7:40 PM

VorDaj on August 5, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Scare tactics do not get people to the polls. I know! We tried that and failed in 2008.

DannoJyd on August 5, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Thank you for providing proof that supporting any liberal is sure to cause brain damage.

BTW, while I was working last week to get people to the polls this coming Tuesday, you did what?

DannoJyd on August 5, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Your own words:

I think this will fail.

DannoJyd on August 5, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Sweet twit, I was an election judge long before you ever did anything to make this country work better. Easy, since what you are doing now benefits 0bama and no one else.

You failed to mention you were working to get people to the polls for a candidate whose only purpose is to insure another 0bama term.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Yeah, I heard that NASA had handed final guidance over to their Muslim staff of interns to give them a sense of value and self worth. Word is that the ‘Slums picked the crater “Tora Bora” for the landing.

BL@KBIRD on August 5, 2012 at 7:40 PM

I just wish that somehow Curiosity could enter a worm hole and go back in time and hit Mohammad in the head knocking it clean off.

VorDaj on August 5, 2012 at 7:44 PM

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:30 PM

As usual, canop has the goods…thanks for all those links.

It’s unreal how far it is from here to Mars…and that’s right next door. Multiply that for across the galaxy and there are billions of them…there is no word to describe the immenseness of the cosmos.

JetBoy on August 5, 2012 at 7:47 PM

My oldest memory is seeing Sputnik (or it’s booster) orbiting overhead while on vacation in northern Ontario. I was 4 years old being held in my father’s arms. I’ll be up and watching NASA do it again, as I have done for all the important milestones of the space race these past 55 years.

Zorro on August 5, 2012 at 7:48 PM

If I were a Martian, I’d jump out from behind a rock and moon the camera.

I press my little green butt cheeks right against the lens.

CurtZHP on August 5, 2012 at 7:49 PM

given the technology at the time, from what i have read the 69 moon landing was at least as complex as this, with as much or more risk of failure. esp being manned, etc. margin for error, number of things that had to go “right”, in seqeunce, etc. i hope the “obama effect” will not be deliterious as some above have speculated.

t8stlikchkn on August 5, 2012 at 7:49 PM

If I were a Martian, I’d jump out from behind a rock and moon the camera.

I press my little green butt cheeks right against the lens.

CurtZHP on August 5, 2012 at 7:49 PM

If I were a martian and saw it land I’d run right over with a bottle of bleach and sterilize the area it intends to test.

Nothing here humans, move along….

Wolfmoon on August 5, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Space & Tech News: Mars Rover’s “Seven Minutes of Terror”

video:

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/space-technology-news/mars-curiosity-rover-vin/

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:53 PM

I think we as a nation should find a way to fund our space program and a undersea exploration program for a couple reasons. First is national pride and the second is the technology advances that such programs create.

JKotthoff on August 5, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Can someone wake up Sheila Jackson so she can watch it Live?

Thanks.

hillsoftx on August 5, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Curiosity has a nav computer tens of millions of times more powerful. Again, the only thing preventing a successful landing would be human intervention.

It’s not the processor I’m worried about, it’s program running in it and the guys who wrote it under a government contract.

Socratease on August 5, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Seven Minutes of Terror by NASA
*******************************

Video:(5:08)

Jul 21, 2012 by NASAbroadcasts

Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror

Team members share the challenges of Curiosity’s final minutes to landing on the surface of Mars.

When NASA’s newest rover, Curiosity, reaches Mars in about three weeks, it will not be the first to set its wheels on the Red Planet, but it will be the largest and most advanced robotic explorer that has ever been sent to our planetary neighbor.
===========================================================

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iph8wjxMi1k

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 8:00 PM

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 7:30 PM

As usual, canop has the goods…thanks for all those links.

It’s unreal how far it is from here to Mars…and that’s right next door. Multiply that for across the galaxy and there are billions of them…there is no word to describe the immenseness of the cosmos.

JetBoy on August 5, 2012 at 7:47 PM

JetBoy:Anytime,and yup on the distance!!:)
===========================================

Looking for Curiosity,…..or,….

….Mars Exploration Program?
*****************************

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/

canopfor on August 5, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Curiousity?

I’m waiting with worms on my tongue for a correction to this…

TouchingTophet on August 5, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Ditto that…I love this stuff. I’m kind of surprised tho that no one at NASA thought about using a clean and green rover made from a slightly modified Chevy Volt. I mean, it’s roughly the same price :/

JetBoy on August 5, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Would also be safe from fire because of the lack of Oxygen!

slickwillie2001 on August 5, 2012 at 8:21 PM

We landed a probe on Saturn’s moon Titan, so I think we have a good chance for success on this Mars mission. Yes it has a lot of variables to go through but they have tested and tested the landing scenario.

I remember all the concerns when Pathfinder was about to land, but it delivered Sojourner just fine.

God Speed Curiosity!

plutorocks on August 5, 2012 at 8:24 PM

JetBoy on August 5, 2012 at 7:39 PM

slickwillie2001 on August 5, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Can y’all say reliability?

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 8:25 PM

*Actually, this is truly amazing. In 100 years people will probably look back and laugh at the amateurish-ness of it all.

SouthernGent on August 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

I really hope that in 100 years people look back at these events in the same way we look back at automobile and machinery technology in 1912, i.e., as the starting point leading to greater and greater things.

AZfederalist on August 5, 2012 at 8:27 PM

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 7:44 PM

So you believe this Mars probe will succeed thanks to the involvement of the 0bama Regime, and now crow about days long past which resulted in getting not a single vote for any Republican?

That has to be about as sad as it gets.

DannoJyd on August 5, 2012 at 8:28 PM

So you believe this Mars probe will succeed thanks to the involvement of the 0bama Regime…

DannoJyd on August 5, 2012 at 8:28 PM

What is about as sad is it gets is that you think the 0bama regime had anything to do with this.

Curiosity has been ready to go since before it got its name. That would be 2008 you stupid moron.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 8:32 PM

This is the kind of thing NASA is supposed to be doing. Not muslim self esteem building…

Sigh… NASA is about the only part of the government WORTH funding aside from the military.

And Obama killed it.

wildcat72 on August 5, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Odds on 0bama not saying a word about it? 100 to 1, at least.

Gotta get ready for that fund raiser!

ProfShadow on August 5, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Currently we have spacecraft in orbit about Saturn, Mars, Earth, and Mercury. The New Horizons spacecraft is enroute to Pluto, and will make a flyby in three years. There are two solar observatories orbiting the Sun that can help forecast solar storms. Four lunar ships are conducting surveying missions, mapping the Moon to an accuracy of 3 meters. Besides the Hubble Space Telescope, the Kepler Observatory has continued its mission, discovering more than 530 extrasolar planets — fundamentally rewriting our understanding of planetary science (namely, that there are more planets than stars in the sky).

Curiosity will join the still operating Opportunity on the Martian surface, expanding our knowledge daily about the geology and ecology of that planet. And we’re also coming up on the 12th anniversary of continuous human residency of the International Space Station — the largest manned spacecraft in the history of humanity.

And still, people whine about NASA’s lack of “vision”. They’re doing a pretty amazing job in spite of their paltry place in the Federal budget.DarthBrooks on August 5, 2012 at 7:03 PM

You said it! About 1/10th the budget of the Dept of Education.

batterup on August 5, 2012 at 8:47 PM

For real time stats on Curiosity check out Eyes on the Solar System at JPL.

plutorocks on August 5, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Can’t wait. Sadly, I found this week while chatting up people about the mission, that real enthusiasm tended to be in people 50+ years of age or so.

I guess landing a man-made object on another planet and getting some pictures of it as it is doing so just can’t capture the imagination these days when such events have to compete with the ability to know how many slices of toast one of your friends had with breakfast in real time.

Borgcube on August 5, 2012 at 9:06 PM

*Actually, this is truly amazing. In 100 years people will probably look back and laugh at the amateurish-ness of it all.

SouthernGent on August 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

I really hope that in 100 years people look back at these events in the same way we look back at automobile and machinery technology in 1912, i.e., as the starting point leading to greater and greater things.

AZfederalist on August 5, 2012 at 8:27 PM

On the other hand we could end up in a new Dark Age, fighting each other tooth and nail over a rusty old tin can of something without a label.

slickwillie2001 on August 5, 2012 at 9:18 PM

plutorocks on August 5, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Gonna’ have to go “old school” and watch it on the tube.

NASA channel.

Can’t wait. Sadly, I found this week while chatting up people about the mission, that real enthusiasm tended to be in people 50+ years of age or so.

Borgcube on August 5, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Beats not having any age group show an interest.

Must have something to do with being a kid during the golden age of space exploration.

I have to admit that I lost a little interest in the shuttle project when it couldn’t launch in time to rescue Skylab.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 9:20 PM

So much for KISS (keep it simple and stupid), NASA is just looking for a crash. I thought the air bag landing worked out pretty well.

Russ86 on August 5, 2012 at 9:31 PM

So much for KISS (keep it simple and stupid), NASA is just looking for a crash. I thought the air bag landing worked out pretty well.

Russ86 on August 5, 2012 at 9:31 PM

I suspect that this package is much heavier than the beach ball lander. Don’t know how that would scale up. The beach ball would also be best suited to a flat plain, not a craggy row of ridges.

slickwillie2001 on August 5, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Russ86 on August 5, 2012 at 9:31 PM

A couple minutes of research, or going to one of the links shown would have educated you as to why the landing will take place this way.

Slickwillie got it right.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 9:39 PM

There is no live TV coverage on any TV channel. There appears to be very little interest. I guess I will go to bed in a little bit and wake up in the morning to find out if it was successful. I pray that it is successful.

SC.Charlie on August 5, 2012 at 9:42 PM

SC.Charlie on August 5, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Look at the story, or comments, for links to real time feeds. Since Mars is currently about 15 light minutes away, there won’t be a live feed.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 9:47 PM

TSC.Charlie on August 5, 2012 at 9:42 PM here is no live TV coverage on any TV channel.

8:30 Pacific, 11:30 Eastern

Check here

plutorocks on August 5, 2012 at 9:49 PM

So much for KISS (keep it simple and stupid), NASA is just looking for a crash. I thought the air bag landing worked out pretty well.

Russ86 on August 5, 2012 at 9:31 PM

The larger rover is too heavy for airbags.

BacaDog on August 5, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Ive been waiting 8 months for this. Ive watched all the mars landings….I love this stuff!

lostinjrz on August 5, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4