MARS CURIOSITY LANDING - 1:30 AM, AUGUST 6

Late next Sunday evening (actually early Monday morning) the Mars Curiosity landing will take place. The landing will occur at about 1:30 AM local time Monday (8/6) morning. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission began with launch last November 26. The landing of the Curiosity 'rover,' which is much larger and more sophisticated than previous rovers, presents some serious challenges, not the least of which is that imposed by the speed of light. Radio (and other EM signals) take about 14 minutes to travel between Mars and Earth, given the two planets' current positions. Thus the various landing maneuvers must take place autonomously. To gain an appreciation of some of the difficulties involved take a look at the short video prepared by Cal Tech’s JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab) appropriately called Seven Minutes of Terror. Of course the best place to watch the landing is on NASA TV which may also be available on your particular cable/satellite system. For much more information I recommend the NASA MSL Mission site and/or the GetCurious site.