Update: Curiosity landed safely (and beautifully, I might add) on the surface of Mars at 10:32 p.m. PDT! Read more here. Check out the amazing team who got her to the surface, here.
Tonight’s a big night for one amazing little lady who also happens to be my coworker. Her name is Curiosity. Eight years in the making, Curiosity is NASA’s most technically advanced Mars rover ever and she’ll be only the fourth rover to ever explore the Red Planet. Essentially a laboratory on wheels, Curiosity’s mission is to explore her landing site in Mars’ Gale Crater to determine whether Mars has or ever had the ingredients for life. Since November, she’s been making her way to Mars and tonight is the defining moment when she makes a treacherous descent to the Martian surface using methods never before attempted. In a way, she’s competing in her own Olympic sport and like proud parents, we’re all biting our nails in the stands hoping she sticks the landing.
Even though we can’t watch the events of her landing (scheduled for 10:31 PDT) unfold on Mars, there will be plenty to see from the mission control room at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which will be featured in live landing night broadcasts on USTREAM and NASA TV starting at 8:30 p.m. PDT. (I won’t be in mission control, but I’ll be watching the live events from my cubicle and posting updates to the NASA website – including Curiosity’s first images from on the ground!) Here’s how to follow the excitement and geek out with Curiosity – and me — tonight:
- Mars Program website
- NASA Mars website
- USTREAM Live Broadcast
- NASA TV Live Broadcast (also check your cable channels to see if you get NASA TV)
- Eyes on the Solar System – Curiosity Experience
Here’s to wishing Curiosity a safe landing and an amazing adventure on Mars!