Just a heads up to anyone interested in watching NASA’s Curiosity rover land on Mars this Sunday:
You’ll be able to catch the entire event live on NASA TV, broadcast directly from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mission Control in Pasadena, California.
They’ll also stream the video at Times Square in New York City, if you’re looking to get really fancy about it.
The event will begin at 11:30 p.m. EDT on August 5, with Curiosity actually touching down on Monday at 1:31 a.m. EDT.
Don’t expect some grand, cinematic experience, though; you’ll probably get a good look at Mission Control, and be able to hear the audio as NASA engineers run around in circles screaming.
In fact, NASA has referred to the rover’s descent and landing as “seven minutes of terror” — as soon as they get word that Curiosity has reached Mars’s atmosphere, it will have already succeeded or failed. They won’t know for a full seven minutes.
And there’s no guarantee it will. The process involved in Curiosity’s descent involves several complex stages, each requiring exact precision.
If you’re interested in a more “hands-on” example of the landing, check out the free Kinect game Mars Rover Landing on Xbox Live.
Will you be watching?
Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.