I have a fascination with aeronautics, aerospace and aviation. I don’t claim to technically understand much about them, but I think aspects of these fields are fascinating and important. That’s why I’m excited for Sunday, when NASA will be living through a very real seven minutes of terror vividly portrayed in this video about landing the Curiosity rover on Mars.
This video is just over five minutes long, and it’s exciting – but not as exciting as the seven minutes of burning anticipation a team of dedicated people are going to have to endure Sunday night (10:31 PST), wondering if their baby has made it to its destination, safe and sound as planned. Props to the NASA PR / Outreach / Education teams for bringing this story to us with dramatic flair.
Mars: Our Generation’s Moon Landing
Since I wasn’t around for the work leading up to the moon landing, this is my guess at what that must have been like. In all the years leading up to Americans walking on the moon, there were many missions like these just getting the logistics figured out. And wow – there are plenty of logistics.
Just think about it: we can see the moon from Earth, even observing features of its surface with our unaided eyes. With Mars, there’s a 14-minute delay from the time signals are sent until the they’re even received here. Thank goodness Curiosity is on Twitter:
Cruise control: I'm continuing to fly according to autonomous entry, descent & landing software. Countdown to Mars: 4 days!—
Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) August 01, 2012
NASA Peeps on Twitter
Here are some more cool NASA folk on Twitter – check them out for updates on Curiosity’s mission, and keep following for more news about space, science and exploration:
- Adam Steltzner - head of NASA JPL’s Mars landing team
- Lauren Worley – Press office at NASA
- Stephanie Schierholz – NASA Social Media Manager
- NASA JPL - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages many of NASA’s robotic missions
- NASA Social - Announcements on social media & for info about upcoming NASA Socials
- NASA – the News from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, themselves
That we’ve ever been able to set anything on Mars’ surface, successfully navigate its terrain, take pictures from multiple angles then transmit them back them before our eyes on Earth is nothing less than astounding. And this Sunday, it can happen again. Unless something goes horribly awry – which is always a distinct possibility… but if it were easy, anyone could do it. My great respect goes to the entire Curiosity team and everyone at NASA for their work on this project.
Let’s hope all goes well for the Curiosity team this weekend.
What do you think? Will humans ever make it to Mars? Or Pandora? Did you ever fantasize about space travel? Are there aliens out there? Let us hear from you in the comments!
- Resources for the Mars Rover Landing (OSCG Educational Resources Blog)
- Taking a Robotic Geologist to Mars (AstroNews)
- Crazy Smart: When A Rocker Designs A Mars Lander (NPR) <– Check out the music at the end
- NASA Dials Up the Drama With Trailer for Mars Mission (AdWeek)
- William Shatner and the Grand Entrance (NASA)
- Mars dust storm, minor wobble give Curiosity scientists pause (Los Angeles Times)
- Camera On Mars Orbiter Snaps Phoenix During Landing (University of Arizona)
- The Challenge of Getting to Mars (Eccentric Orbits)
- Catch The Live Stream For The Mars Rover Landing On 5th August Here! (techie-buzz.com)
- What we’ll see from Mars, and when (cosmiclog.nbcnews.com)
- NASA to rover: ‘Stick the landing’ (rep-am.com)
- Talk to the Man Who Drives the $2.6 Billion-Dollar Mars Curiosity Rover (gizmodo.com)