Just over a day from now the Mars Science Laboratory mission will arrive at Mars, its nine-month journey through space culminating in a harrowing “seven minutes of terror” that will place the Curiosity rover safely onto Mars’ surface within Gale crater. Although the world will be watching, there’s a chance that nobody will know exactly what happened to Curiosity for quite some time — even if everything goes perfectly.
This cool animation from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows why “simple” communication between two neighboring planets is still tricky business. (Hey, it’s not called rocket science for nothing!)
And if you want to be part of all the action as it unfolds tomorrow night/Monday morning, tune in to a live webcast on Google+ hosted by Universe Today’s Fraser Cain, CosmoQuest’s Dr. Pamela Gay, and Dr. Phil Plait — a.k.a. the “Bad Astronomer.” The webcast will feature interviews with special guests, a live video feed from NASA of the landing, and live coverage from JPL… don’t miss out! Find out more here.
Video: JPL News