Wil Wheaton has Curiosity

By Phil Plait | July 31, 2012 10:59 am

In the wee hours of August 6 (UTC that is), the Mars Curiosity rover will land on Mars, becoming the most sophisticated (and heaviest) laboratory ever put on the Red Planet. NASA/JPL has put out a great video describing this event, narrated by none other than my friend Wil Wheaton:

Cooool. I heard they got some other guy to make a video for them as well, but whatever.

I’ll have more news about this event very soon, including where and when you can watch it yourself or get your questions answered by experts about this important and amazing space probe.

Related Posts:

Mars Attacks of the Show
Landing on Mars: Seven minutes of terror
Curiosity on its way to Mars!


Comments (25)

  1. Charles Boyer

    I haven’t been this nervous since the Apollo 11 landing. This is gonna be one heckuva seven minutes of pucker-up time, especially for the scientists and engineers directly involved in the mission.

  2. This is a most AWESOME VIDEO. I loved it. AND If NASA can make videos like this, imagine what they are capable of in the actual mission. Very excited to hear about the data gathered. If there was life on Mars, it will completely blow up all our dogma that we’re so very special. And, I’m betting there was life on Mars when there was water because water is the sacred element sent from the Creator to help him ‘sea’.

  3. That’s such a crazy landing sequence!

  4. Yeah, I think “the kid on that show” did a WAY better job than that other guy.

  5. QueenBee

    Wow, it’s so awesome to hear this narrated by Whil Wheaton. He will always be Wesley Crusher for me at first thought. The only thing that’s missing is Patrick Stewart saying “make it so” upon launch :).

    Great video. Spectaculair images and informative narrating. <3 it

  6. Chris

    With Wesley at the helm I feel a little less nervous :-)

  7. sam

    very cool! i like the one on apod today as well

  8. Steve

    He has the spirit of Sagan in his voice…very nice!

  9. Tom

    Couldn’t help notice several instances of the Closed Captioning calling the rover “curiosity” (not capitalized). And there was one reference to Gail (not Gail) Crator.

    With such attention to detail, I worry about this upcoming “seven minutes of terror”.

    I hope the engineers didn’t get feet and meters confused. Again.

  10. sam

    @tom, i think the cc are done automatically by youtube.

  11. TimT

    #9 Tom…. LOL

    Meters = instruments you read data from

    Metres = metric units of measure

    Very subtle :)

  12. kat wagner

    I got nervous just watching the video. Holy cow, I hope it’s landing is awesome and nothing jinxes it, O gawd.

  13. Thomas Siefert

    Spoiled for choice between two narraters. I would have picked George Takei though….

  14. Grizzly

    emPHAsis on the wrong sylLABle. I actually (gah) prefer the Shatner version over this one. What’s with Wil, hasn’t he ever done voice over work?

    And why not get Nimoy or Steward who HAVE?

  15. Messier Tidy Upper

    May Curiosity triumph over those minutes of terror and get to roam the rusty sands of Mars. :-)

    Can’t wait. Love that clip. Both versions of it. (Plus the older one too.) :-)

    As for the Star Trek actor voice-overs – I reckon a Jean-Luc Picard / Patrick Stewart or Tuvok (actor who played him is actually an amateur astronomer if I recall right?) or Seven of Nine / Jeri Ryan doing the voice over could work well! ūüėČ

  16. > In the wee hours of August 6 (UTC that is), the Mars
    > Curiosity rover will land on Mars, becoming the most
    > sophisticated (and heaviest) laboratory ever put on
    > the Red Planet.

    …by humans.

    We don’t know what or who else has sent (or built) laboratories on Mars in the past.

  17. Craig Hartel

    Are the Curiosity rover sequences going to be shot on the same sound stage as the Apollo moon landings? :^p

    I’m feeling the same sense of anticipation as I did as a little boy when Armstrong stepped onto the moon. All the years of planning and construction of Curiosity all down to seven long, tortuous minutes. If this machine lands and survives and goes on for a life on Mars similar to those little rovers that preceded it, it will have to go down in history as one of the most successful technological feat of all time.

    It all boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

    To Curiosity – Her journey across a vast ocean of space is nearly at an end; a new world beckons, and we all bid Her wishes for a safe landing.

    Live long, and prosper.

  18. Thomas Siefert

    I just hope Curiosity doesn’t land on a cat…

    I’ll get my hat and coat…

  19. tphtwpe

    Wait a minute? Are Wheaton and Shatner reading the same script in front of the same background video?!? Or am I just hearing and seeing things?

  20. deirdrebeth

    @TimT – sadly here in the US “meter” is correct for the distance term, we’re like that.

    @tphtwpe – nope, you’re not crazy. They’re just targeting two different age groups with the choice of narrator.

  21. Andy A

    I’ve marveled at exploring space with robots since I was a child. But I can’t help looking at that big, complicated thing and conclude that it’s going to break into a Gillian pieces. I hope it doesn’t. But I’ll be astonished if only 1 catastrophic thing happens.

    Anyone else have this feeling? Or is it the London weather this year making me a dreadful pessimist.

  22. davem

    Whatever happened to the KISS principle? That over-complicated landing sequence is designed-in failure. Let’s hope it makes it OK, but don’t hold your breath…

  23. Xander

    @davem – what ‘happened’ was that there isn’t any other way to do it. ‘Spirit’ and ‘Opportunity’ landed via somewhat similar method, but instead of the skycrane dropping them on the surface after the parachute, they bounced around on large inflatable balloons until coming to a stop. That isn’t an option, here, because this rover is just too much heavier.

    The skycrane contraption cannot also be used to provide a powered landing all the way down (something like the Viking landers), as the amount of thrust required would scorch the heck out of the ground, and the dust blast from that would almost certainly damage the rover (or contaminate or damage instruments on it). And the Viking landers were designed to land HARD…they weren’t going anywhere after touchdown. Could another set of shielding protect the rover during that point to allow a powered landing all the way down, and wheels reinforced to take the landing? Maybe – but that would be even more weight and probably require removing some of the instruments or tests from the rover.

    In both cases (the previous rovers and this one), the Mars atmosphere simply isn’t thick enough to support a parachute that could slow a vehicle enough to touch down on its own. So…

    …yeah, we get this Rube Goldberg-ian nonsense. I’m not optimistic, myself, but ya never know…

  24. Dan

    (Addressed primarily to Xander, but to anyone who has answers):

    1) I’m not a materials engineer, but are there REALLY no sufficiently-strong and malleable materials currently in existence from which to fashion a cocoon of scaled-up inflatable bladders for a craft the weight of Curiosity?

    2) I’ve always bristled at these “flat earth” oriented conspiracy theorists who contend that our key celestial endeavors are staged, for the sake of societal morale, but I can’t understand why Curiosity’s complex landing strategy which included a PARTIAL, RELATIVELY MINIMAL powered landing, is being billed as so cutting-edge and precarious, when we supposedly power-landed all the way from orbit, two Vikings, 36 years ago. Xander says this doesn’t constitute a contradiction because, unlike the mobile Curiosity, the Vikings were “designed to land HARD” (because) “they weren’t going anywhere after touchdown.” I can’t see what the force of the concussion has to do with the mobility (or lack thereof) of a lander. Onboard experiment apparati could be equally (and possibly MORE, back in ’76) vulnerable to shock, whether aboard a mobile, or stationary lab. In fact, just looking at the Curiosity, its apparently ultra-cushy shock-absorbing suspension systems, designed precisely for the ongoing jostling of a mobile lab, would seem to render onbaord equipment LESS shock-sensitive, not more. Also, why no problem with “scorched ground” or kicked-up dust for the Vikings?

    A final note: my all-caps emphasis isn’t meant to convey “yelling”-level agitation; I simply lack italics capability here.

  25. If there were media in mars , how would they have seen the news of curiosity rover of NASA land on their surface ? Please do read an imaginative transcript of a news report from mars in my blog below :)


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