Scheduled landing is at 10:31 pm PDT, today, Sunday, August 5th, 2012 (1:31 am EDT). Videos, a countdown clock, and links to live NASA feed.
Here in Seattle, there’s a free event at the Museum Of Flight with activities for the kids and speakers from NASA, Aerojet, and the UW leading up to the landing..
Let’s hope all goes well! Here’s the dramatic 7 minutes of terror video:
Addition: CURIOSITY HAS LANDED!
It sent back some thumbnail photos from either side of the Rover before the feed was lost and Mars set. Thanks to everyone at the Museum Of Flight, NASA, and the thousands of people who worked on Curiosity for so long. Yes!
Some ideas I picked up at the event (for other interested non-scientists/astronomers):
-Curiosity isn’t necessarily looking for life, but it’s looking for the conditions that make life possible here on Earth with its 10 instruments, such as trying to determine the origins of the methane on Mars’s surface by being better able to analyze the kind of carbon (12 or 14) in the atmosphere to find its source. It’s also much better able to look for amino acids (the building blocks of life on Earth) and better able to analyze the rock and crystal samples it picks up. It’s got a cool laser. It’s about the size of a Mini-Cooper.
-Unlike Earth with its dynamic interior and tectonic plates, relatively strong magnetic field, thick and dynamic atmosphere etc., Mars is a bit like a time capsule. With just over 50% the diameter of Earth, about 38% the gravity, and less than 1% the atmosphere we’ll be able to get a much better picture of what happened during the formation of our solar system about 4 1/2 billion years ago as it’s much less disturbed. The trip up the rock face in Gale Crater over the next few years is like a trip back through time. What happened to Mars? Did the Earth and Mars have common experiences?
Some more Mars facts.
So many people put so much time, thought, energy and passion into this mission. Thanks again.
Addition: Photos here. You can see the heat shield deploying, Mt. Sharp, the crater rim etc. Curiosity is right around the equator. Great landing!