Curiosity, Kennedy Space Center, Mars, Mars Science Laboratory, Missions, NASA, Satellites, Science, Solar System, Space Exploration

Curiosity’s Grand Entrance with Star Trek’s William Shatner and Wil Wheaton – Video Duet

30 Jul , 2012 by Video

Video Caption: Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, actor William Shatner, guides viewers through the video titled, “Grand Entrance,” showing NASA’s Curiosity Mars Science Lab mission from atmospheroic entry through descent, and after landing on the Red Planet on August 6 2012.

As NASA engineers and scientists make final preparations for the Red Planet landing of NASA’s most difficult planetary science mission to date – the Curiosity Mars Science Lab – inside Gale Crater on the night of August 5/6, Star Trek actors William Shatner and Wil Wheaton lend their voices to a pair of new mission videos titled “Grand Entrance”

The video duet describes the thrilling story of how Curiosity will touch down on Mars and guides viewers through the nail biting “7 Minutes of Terror” – from entry into the Martian atmosphere at over 13,000 MPH and then how the rover must slow down through descent, set down for a soft and safe landing and ultimately how Curiosity will search for signs of life.

The 6 wheeled Curiosity is scheduled to touchdown on Mars at about 1:31 a.m. EDT (531 GMT) early on Aug. 6 (10:31 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5).

The highly complex and unprecedented landing system of precision thrusters, parachutes, radar and the sky crane must work perfectly for a successful outcome.

Shatner and Wheaton each provide their own unique narration to the videos allowing a wider range of audiences to be reached. The actors are icons to sci-fi fans worldwide through their work on Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Video Caption: Star Trek Actor Wil Wheaton talks about NASA’s Mars Science Lab mission that will land August 6 2012.

“Shatner and Wheaton are mavericks in inspiring film, TV and social media audiences about space,” said Bert Ulrich, NASA’s multimedia liaison for film and TV collaborations.

“NASA is thrilled to have them explain a difficult landing sequence in accessible terms that can be understood by many. Thanks to their generous support, Mars exploration will reach Tweeters, Trekkies and beyond!”

This long time Star Trek fan also thanks Bill and Wil !

It’s now just 6 days until NASA’s car sized Curiosity rover plunges into Mars for a high stakes landing beside a 3 mile (5 km) high mountain named Mount Sharp and begins a 2 year prime mission in search of signs of habitats of Martian microbial life.

Watch NASA TV online for live coverage of the Curiosity landing on Aug 5/6: or

Ken Kremer

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By  -      
Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC,, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 60 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

8 Responses

  1. John Stock says:

    Live long and prosper….

  2. Torbjörn Larsson says:

    Fascinating. ^(o_ó)^

  3. Aerandir90 says:

    All systems go and all fingers crossed!

  4. Mean_deviatioN says:

    Don’t be silly – this won’t occur in the middle of the night, it’s the middle of the afternoon…unless of course the USofA-centricity rears its ugly head once more…or am I wrong and William/Wil mean the middle of the Martian night? Anyhow, interpret the expected touchdown of 5:31 GMT on an international basis, and, sure as eggs, I’ll guarantee there’s more times that don’t correspond even roughly to the ‘middle of the night’.

    • Charles French says:

      I think your “USofA-centricity rears its ugly head once more” radar is a tad to sensitive. And who cares it will be in the middle of the night for me. :(

  5. Lord Haw-Haw. says:

    A lot can go right on this mission and certainly the potential exists that a lot can go wrong, little wonder UT posters are implying to keep your fingers crossed.

    Adam Steltzner a mission project coordinator characterized the mission as: “Ambitious, audacious, and unconventional.” ……… The engineering concepts incorporated read like science fiction.

  6. Sterling Gawthrop says:

    Live Coverage? Bah! It’s 14 minutes old coverage. :-)
    Too bad Will and Bill couldn’t help out with a little sub-space transmission technology eh?

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