"When people look at this it looks crazy." ~ Adam Stelzner, NASA
This weekend CURIOSITY will be putting us through "seven minutes of terror." The problem is the rover (if all goes well) will have been dead or alive (if all goes perfectly) for seven minutes before we get word that it has entered the Martian atmosphere. That's because it takes fourteen minutes for the radio signal to reach Earth! Ah, the challenges of space exploration [sigh]. You can rest assured that this cat will be curious to see how this mission goes...
$2.5 Billion Gamble
In a $2.5 billion gamble, a nuclear-powered Mars rover the size of a small car will attempt a pinpoint landing near the base of a 3-mile-high mountain overnight Sunday to search for the building blocks of life in the frozen history of the red planet and evidence of past or present habitability.
In this video that looks and sounds like a Sci-Fi film that would make Jules Verne tremble, team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory share the challenges of the Curiosity Mars rover's final minutes to landing on the surface of Mars...
In so doing, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, dubbed "Curiosity" in a student naming contest, will climb layer by layer through vast eras of the planet's enigmatic history, possibly shedding light on the transition from a warmer, wetter past to the arid, frigid world of today.
Doug McCuistion, director of Mars exploration at NASA headquarters in Washington, said the mission "could arguably be the most important event in the history of planetary exploration."
"It truly is a major step forward, both in technology and in potential science return and science capability to unlock the mysteries of Mars in places that have never been accessible to humankind in the past."
The SCIENCE of Curiosity