Watch the Curiosity hangout here!

By Phil Plait | August 5, 2012 7:05 pm

[UPDATE (August 6, 05:33 UTC): TOUCHDOWN!! Welcome to Mars, Curiosity.]

Hi everyone, and welcome to the live Google+ video Hangout for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity landing! I’m with fellow astronomers and space folks Fraser Cain, Pamela Gay, Amy Shira Teitel, Ian O’Neill, and many others… and we have some special guests lined up too. You should see the video below with the live feed for the Hangout.

If you have questions, join us on Google+ or drop us a line on Twitter – use the hashtag #MarsHangout.

Starting at roughly 03:00 UTC (11:00 Eastern US time) [NOTE: I just updated the time; I originally thought we’d be on a bit earlier] I will be in a Google+ live video Hangout with Fraser Cain, Pamela Gay, Amy Shira Teitel, and many others, talking about the Mars Science Lab – aka Curiosity – as it makes its terrifying way to the Martian surface. We’ll have live feeds, interviews, and lots of fun!

I will embed the video right here when it’s live, so keep this blog post up in your browser. When we go live I’ll be tweeting it and putting it on G+ as well, so stay tuned, and watch this space!


Comments (42)

  1. Sammy01

    Can someone please find out whether Curousity actually carries the names submitted to “Send Your Name To Mars”? Was the chip created and sent. I’ve submitted my name along with my wife and children’s and want to know if I can honestly tell them their names are on Mars. I realise it’s not high on the science agenda especially with budget cut after budget cut, but it’s important enough for me to ask, and if NASA wants to run something like this there needs to be follow-through or the publicity they generate turns sour. Latest update here says the names are being prepared to be burned on the chip:

  2. Kyle

    I have 100% trust it will land, how many pieces is the question.

  3. Noelie

    Here’s to “nothing but net”!

  4. If the project goes belly up then there are going to be some infinitely miserable engineers. I reckon they’ve checked the software for imperial vs metric units bugs a few times 😉

  5. Andy

    Sammy01: Yep – there are over a million names inscribed on the chip!

    (I think there may actually be two chips, if I recall correctly)

  6. Jacob

    Schrodinger’s Rover. Both alive and dead for 14 minutes.

  7. Jennifer from MT

    Yay! This geek is happy to be “hanging out” with you guys tonight. The Venus transit was so fun with you (I was the one who commented about getting my mom hooked on listening to your commentary.) :)

  8. If the rover falls on Martian feline life, will NASA send a mission named Satisfaction to retrieve the body?

  9. Nir

    what kind of life form can be found?

  10. Daniel J. Andrews

    Heh.” You’re a go for breaking open the peanuts. “. Cool following on twitter and NASA tv and google plus. I just went and grabbed the peanuts too. Can’t hurt ( non-salted, of course).

  11. Cruise stage separation all looking good so far. 15 minutes, 55 secs to go!

    Curiosity Sheds Its Cruise Stage
    Mon, 06 Aug 2012 02:45:09 PM UTC+0930

    NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory carrying the Curiosity rover has separated from the cruise stage that carried it from Earth to the Red Planet. The rover, snug between a protective back shell and heat shield, is about 10 minutes away from entering the Martian atmosphere and about 17 minutes away from landing. Thrusters on the back shell are orienting the spacecraft so the heat shield faces forward in preparation for entering theatmosphere. At this stage, the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent and Landing Instrument (MEDLI) suite begins taking measurements related to the performance of the heat shield that will aid in the design of future missions.

    EDIT : Press release just out. Five minutes to entry -NASA TV / 12 till landing? – NASA countdown clock mission index page.

  12. Georgijs

    I’m holding my breath. Good luck Curiosity!

  13. Brian137

    Thanks, Messier TU.

    Nir: My sketchy understanding is that the rover’s capabilities mostly involve imaging and determining constituent chemical elements and compounds.

  14. Brad

    Those amazing people are landing a rover on Mars and I haven’t even been able to grill an acceptable pizza on my outdoor grill. Go Science!

  15. Daffy


  16. Chris

    Better than the Olympics. And faster than NBC coverage! Gold Medal for NASA!


    Wheels on Mars!

    And we’re getting the first images. 😀

    Curiosity has arrived at its new home. Superluminous! 8)

    Congratulations to all those involved. :-)


    Curiosity Lands on Mars
    Mon, 06 Aug 2012 03:02:54 PM UTC+0930

    NASA’s Curiosity rover has landed on Mars! Its descent-stage retrorockets fired, guiding it to the surface. Nylon cords lowered the rover to the ground in the “sky crane” maneuver. When the spacecraft sensed touchdown, the connecting cords were severed, and the descent stage flew out of the way. The time of day at the landing site is mid-afternoon — about 3 p.m. local Mars time at Gale Crater. The time at JPL’s mission control is about 10:31 p.m. Aug. 5 PDT (early morning EDT).

    NASA’s Curiosity / Mars Science Laboratory page linked to my name here.

    (Where, oddly enough, the countdown clock is still saying 17 minutes to go. Least on my machine it is.)

  18. Jimilee

    Congratulations Curiosity!!

  19. JJ


  20. Grand Lunar

    Dang it, someone beat me to it!

    Anyway, great to see a job well done for the EDL phase.

    Now it’s time for some BIG Science to take place!

  21. Autumn

    It’s a great day to be a human. Or even any sort of Earthling, as we wouldn’t be here if not for our entire biome. Now we’re looking for signs of another one.

    I am stoked!

  22. heng


    that’s sooooo coool!!!

  23. Tara Li


  24. Looks like it landed on a witch, so all subsequent pictures should be in color.

  25. Brian137

    Wow!!!!!!!! Now for a couple of years of fascinating science.

  26. Jonathan

    Thanks so much to all of you on the Hangout.

    My father was an electrical specialist on the lunar module. This was very reminiscent of watching the moon landings when I was a child.

  27. bad Jim
  28. kat wagner

    SCORE! Gold medals for all those olympic nerds at NASA; watching nasa tv is pretty cool and I’m so excited for curiosity!

  29. Messier Tidy Upper

    @2. Kyle : “I have 100% trust it will land, how many pieces is the question.”

    Turns out the answer is : one beautiful, working, fully operational piece! 😉 😛

    Gold medal performance indeed. :-)

    New Olympic sport – spacecraft landings?

    NASA TV beats that multi-ringed circus hands down – and no ads either! 😉

    #17. (Where, oddly enough, the countdown clock is still saying 17 minutes to go. Least on my machine it is.)

    Counting upwards from elapsed time post landing now. Of course! D’oh!

    3 pm Gale crater time & co-incidentally 3 pm Adelaide time too. Great b&w image on the Curiosity rovers fb page already of its shadow cast upon the sands of Mars. 8)

  30. Gary Ansorge

    Compliments to all those at NASA and JPL who made this possible. Great work, folks.

    …and to Phil and Pamela and…well, everybody reporting on this… thanks. Now, try to get to sleep before…4 am…(Yeah, like THAT’S going to happen).

    Gary 7

  31. Tribeca Mike

    Well I’ll be damned — they did it! Hooray!

  32. Dr. Jeff Mitchell

    Thanks Phil!!!
    nice feed anyone for please donate!
    Dr. Jeff Mitchell
    Ft. Collins, Co

  33. CB

    Hooray Curiosity! Congratulations JPL and NASA! Wonderful landing. Listening live to everything going off like clockwork was amazing. Including communications! No wait, no nerve-wracking mystery, just bing bam boom here’s some pictures.

    I’m more excited than ever. I can’t wait to see what Curiosity will learn about Mars!

  34. Gunnar

    Definitely worth staying up for! Loved the commentaries from the panelists on the hangout site!

  35. Yayyyyyy!!!

    Well done, NASA and JPL! You’ve still got it!

  36. Robin

    Damn! That was exciting. It seemed to go just like it had been scripted. Chapeaux to everyone that helped achieve this! What an amazing night. My 14 y.o. daughter was jumping in her seat.

  37. Phil, I am a huge fan of your work but –nothing personal here –but most of what you all spent time blabbing about here today was really not that relevant to the actual MSL /EDL event… I know your intentions were good but this Hangout was kind of disappointing…. Now back to the main event courtesy NASA TV -direct– #justSayin’

  38. Daniel J. Andrews

    Great commentary from the hang-out crowd. Thank you! And thank you to the twitter folks who were sending updates from NASA. Great stuff. Exciting.

  39. Sam H

    NASA TV beats that multi-ringed circus hands down – and no ads either!

    The sad thing is though, given their funding woes, soon they may actually have to start running ads. A whole new height in product placement is waiting to be acheived, people.

    Anyway: CONGRATUWELLDONE on the landing, let’s bring on the SCIENCE!!! 😀

  40. andrew

    thank you all for making a dull monday afternoon here at work in australia so entertaining.

    i may have gotten something in my eye when it touched down…

  41. Still buzzing, listening to the press conference as I type.

    (They’ve just mentioned Opportunity still going – eight years after it landed too! :-) )

    First image from the Curiosity rover, its shadow and wheels upon the rusted sands and rocks of Mars, Gale crater – is linked to my name here. (Credit , many thanks, NASA – JPL, well done!) Wow. The things a bunch of hairless apes can do at their best. (Raised beer salute) :-)

    Great start to what will hopefully be a very long and full and satisfying odyssey indeed. :-)

  42. Trublbrwing

    Awesome, can’t wait to get some pictures.
    Hopefully they can also explain this………


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