Curiosity rover landing on Mars today

"When people look at it; it looks crazy. That's a very natural thing; sometimes when we look at it, it looks crazy. It is the result of reasoned, engineering thought. But it still looks crazy."

Adam Steltzner, EDL Engineer.

History is right now, people. Well in a few hours history will be right now. Then. It will be.. well IT'S ANOTHER HISTORIC DAY FOR SCIENCE! (and mankind)

Yeh we've landed stuff on and around Mars before - but not this big (900kg) and not this crazily. So, so many variables; so, so many dependants; so, so much more knowledge if this works. This flying, landing, roving laboratory named Curiosity, is due to land on the Martian surface at 5:31pm New Zealand time. While you're on your commute home, Curiosity will be using all the techniques the Nasa engineers have packed into her to slow her descent and land safely, and operationally, in the Gale Crater on Mars after a 8 month long journey (560 million kilometers) from Earth.

And she'll need all the tricks because when Curiosity hits the thin Martian atmosphere she'll be travelling at 17 times the speed of sound.

Houston, we have touchdown

So I'm not even there - not at the place where I can comprehend that there is only 14 minutes airtime between the surface of Mars and Earth. That's how long it takes to get a signal from Curiosity once it's on the surface, back to Earth. They say that's because it's so far away and I'm like DAMN that's like no time at all! That's just crazy close. And the idea that Curiosity can send thumbnail image data back to us and we get it. We get. it.

Like, throwing a postage stamp from Cape Rianga, the top of New Zealand to Los Angeles on the West coast of the United States of America and it.arrives.


I am bewildered, in awe, and excited. How you doing?



Mars science laboratory blog

5 Questions (and answers) about tonight's Mars rover landing

@MarsCuriosity twitter stream

JPL | Curiosity (main site)

Scientific American - Gale Crater