Reminder: Curiosity lands tonight!

By Phil Plait | August 5, 2012 7:00 am

Just a reminder: The Mars Science Lab, also called Curiosity, lands tonight at 05:31 UTC (01:31 Eastern US time)! I have an earlier post with info on where to watch (check the comments too for more).

I’ll be doing a live Google+ video Hangout with Fraser Cain, Pamela Gay, and a lot of other folks too. You don’t need to join G+, though it helps.

I’ll put up a special post later today with an embedded video in it so you can watch us live right here. I’m really excited about this, and I hope it all goes smoothly!


Comments (30)

  1. Yes! Not long now.. Just another fifteen hours and fifty-five seconds or so by the countdown clock linked to my name here on Curiosity‘s main NASA page.

    May Curiosity triumph over those minutes of terror and find itself and us all satisfied.

    Best wishes to all the scientists involved. :-)

  2. Messier Tidy Upper

    Another countdown clock with a little more info here :

    via Stephen “DarkSyde” Andrew’s Zingularity blog.

    Some of the best Curiosity rover clips all in the one place on 80Beats blog here :

    Plus Aussie ABC- TV news program Lateline had a good little section on the Curiosity rover landing a few nights ago. Transcipt and video here :

    If folks wish to check these out. Hope there’re enjoyable / informative / interesting for y’all. :-)

  3. shawmutt

    Sorry, between this post and my last I’m starting to sound like an xbox shill, but there is a live feed available tonight from xbox live. I’ll probably check out the hangout from my PC while watching it on the xbox.

  4. tmac57

    I hope that there are no cats in the landing zone.

  5. I feel kiddie again. The anticipation is great!

    *fingers crossed*

  6. RAF

    No need for explanations, shawmutt….I’m a BIG xbox “fan”, myself. 😀

    I was thinking that I would have the NASA feed on one computer, while having Phil and crew, on my laptop…and now I’ll likely “monitor” xbox live, too.

    Talk about information overload. :)

  7. @3. Shawmutt : Dunno about the Xbox but here was a snippet on the TV about a wii-style simulation Curiosity rover landing game-&-documentary package on the Aussie ABC TV’s Good Game show the other week.

    (.. & now *I’m* feeling like an Aussie ABC channel shill, no connection aside from often watching it – & once being on an ABC quiz show – though. 😉 )

    EDIT : Wait it looks like that was the Xbox one. Clip linked to my name here. Show aimed at younger viewers. Looks pretty good though. :-)

    @4. tmac57 : “I hope that there are no cats in the landing zone.

    (Sings the War of Worlds musical opener modified version) The chances of any cats living on Mars are a trillion to one he said! [Repeats chorus.] (But still they MeeeeOw?) 😉

  8. Satan Claws

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember reading anything mentioning this rover having an environment microphone, or something similar to what was available with ESA’s Huygens probe that landed on Saturn’s moon Titan, to “listen in” to the sounds of the Martian atmosphere. I suppose that having a microphone would be next to useless on a rarified atmosphere. Can anyone comment on this? Thanks in advance.

  9. @7. I guess that last bit needs an explanation – for those unfamiliar with the classic Jeff Wayne musical version of War Of the Worlds – link is provided in my name or search for ‘War Of the Worlds – The Eve Of The War’ by petervee60 [sic] on youtube. Some nice spaceart there too. :-)

    Turns out Ogilvy was right .. or was he?

  10. RAF

    re. xbox Mars rover “quiz”….5 out of 5 right.

    Ta Da…. 😀

  11. Oh well, let´s listen then also to the wonderfull epic radio show of Orson Welles:

    (and btw “the great” scare was made up by the media)

    Meanwhile on Mars…

    “The chances of anything coming from Earth
    Are a million to one, he said (ahh, ahh)
    The chances of anything coming from Earth
    Are a million to one, but still, they come… “

  12. Georg

    “Curiosity lands tonight”
    is best sung to the tunes of
    “the lion sleeps tonight” :=)

  13. If you want to get some feel for what it’s like to be a flight controller watching telemetry from Curiosity, download NASA’s next-generation mission operations software, Mission Control Technologies (MCT). My team at NASA Ames Research Center recently made it open source under the Apache 2.0 license. The demo version can be downloaded and run with no computer knowledge, and does almost everything that the full version does, except save the displays you create. (Sorry, the demo version shows only fake data, though we are working on a plugin to let you see a small amount of real ISS data.)

    JPL’s Curiosity team will not be using MCT initially, because we had it ready too late for their schedule, but MCT’s views are similar to the views of the software that the Curiosity flight controllers are using, so you can get some idea. We have even built the data adapter so MCT can show Curiosity data, and have demonstrated it at JPL. On our web site there is also a three-minute overview video and a Quick Start Guide. Be sure to plug in the example plugins from the Plug Ins page! Find our web site by searching the internet for “NASA open MCT”. Also check out our blog, which is linked from our web site.

  14. Jonathan Latimer

    You need Java to use this, but a simulation of what’s happening on Curiousity is here, real-time:

    Check it out; it’s pretty cool.

    Best of luck on the landing!

  15. Dr.Sid

    Objection ! Curiosity will TRY to land tonight. Anybody being too sure with something as Mars mission deserves his lander to be wrecked because of stupid error.

  16. Charles Sullivan

    See you at Google + Hangout!!

  17. I’ll be heading over to Times Square in NYC to see the event there on the big screens. Otherwise, I’d be at your G+ hangout. :)

  18. Gareth

    Looking forward to it.

    Britain is totally wrapped up in the Olympics at the moment, so Curiosity is barely scraping into the news (especially after yesterday!).

    I’ll be getting up at 6am tomorrow morning to tune in to NASA TV for the landing.

  19. renke

    @Jonathan Latimer

    thanks for the tip about Eyes on the Solar System – but…

    “UnsupportedOperationException – Unknow operating system, Explorer can not launch on Linux”

    I mean, wtf?

  20. Tribeca Mike

    What time would that be on Mars? Does Mars have time zones?

  21. Andos

    Dr. Sid @ 17: It’ll end up on the ground one way or another…

  22. carbonUnit

    @9 MTU: If touchdown generates an angry “ULLA!!!” there’s going to be Trouble.

  23. Grand Lunar

    Little more than 5 hours to go, by the last check I did at NASA’s main site.

    Suppose when it lands, the first message we get from it is “All your base belong to us”?
    Should we panic? 😀

    In all seriousness, I imagine this must be a tense moment for the control team.
    All my hopes to them.

    @22 Tribeca Mike,

    Time zones? Mars don’t need no stinkin’ time zones! 😛

    Seasons are a different matter: Cold, Colder, Frozen, and Hades-Freezes-Over.

  24. tmac57
  25. Jonathan G.

    Am in the UK and will be hitting the Google Hangout and NASA TV with fingers tightly crossed for all the engineers that have worked so hard for this day (sol?). I’m quietly confident but would be a little happier if there were a pair of birds heading for a soft landing! 😉

    I was nine (and already hooked on space exploration) when the Viking landers touched down. This is just like being a kid again!

  26. Satan Claws
  27. Shadows and wheels placed by hairless apes upon the sands of Mars. Gale crater, Mars to be precise. Wow. Wonderful to watch. :-)

    (Image linked to my name – first photo from the Curiosity rover – thankyou NASA-JPL & congrats again to all those involved with this.

  28. tmac57

    No cats were harmed in the process of this spectacular achievement 😉


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