When Will We Hear From Curiosity?

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!)

(Also check out “How Hard Is It to Land Curiosity on Mars?)

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

8 Replies to “When Will We Hear From Curiosity?”

  1. So we have two satellites around Mars. We are spending $2.5 billion on the MSL project and we can’t have a simple geosynchronous coms relay satellite with a camera for our rovers? The PM should have thought of this.

    1. it’s never “simple”. I’m sure they thought of it (the Viking landers had dedicated relay satellites) but more weight in orbit = less weight on the ground. You can only throw a couple of tons per launch towards Mars. Furthermore, for a fully automated entry, descent and landing it doesn’t matter if you have direct downlink or not. It doesn’t make or break the mission.

  2. “….seven minutes of terror…” Why it would be “terror”…? Planetary voyages have own conditions; whether we like them or not…
    Let’s not use such words in this site…

      1. You are not suppose to say (word one word) what NASA says…! If you don’t plan to put the youngsters away from the Space Explorations…
        (“Terror” is a kind of “creature” behavior which has not been confirmed in the Universe (Except on the Earth) so far…)
        Subject: [universetoday] Re: When Will We Hear From Curiosity?

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