UPDATED: Aug. 6 at 1:33 a.m.
NASA is reporting that its Curiosity Rover has landed safely on Mars.
You can follow more here: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
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Monday, at about 1:31 a.m., all eyes will be on Mars, according to NASA.
NASA's rover Curiosity is expected to land on the Red Planet and look for signs of life on that planet and collect scientific data about the planet fourth from the sun.
Curiosity is NASA's baby having launched the rover almost 9 months ago on Nov. 26, 2011.
Now, in less than 24 hours, it will enter Martian atmosphere Monday morning, at speeds of 13,000 miles per hour, marking the beginning of what some have dubbed "seven minutes of terror." During that short time period, the Curiosity rover will aim for a bull's-eye landing inside a massive crater near the equator of the Red Planet.
Curiosity is the largest and heaviest human-made object to land on Mars. It is also the most expensive rover project at a price tag of $2.5 billion.
NASA’s coverage of the event is scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m. Sunday night and end just before sunrise.
Curiosity will not feed back video as it goes through its landing, according to NASA. The first images to reach Earth will be low-resolution black and white images after the rover has landed. High-resolution, color images are expected to be available 48 hours after the landing.
The attached video explains the landing process and the critical seven minute landing expected to happen at 1:31 a.m.
This video link featuring NASA physicist John Grunsfeld maps out Curiosity's landing course and considers whether or not there's life on Mars. It took place on The Colbert Report and gives a good overview of the rover project.
There will be viewing parties all around the country, including Times Square in New York City. NASA will be streaming live at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
In June, seven Girl Scouts from Framingham got to hear NASA's lead Mars Program scientist Michael Meyer talk about the Curiosity Rover project at a special program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Meyer told the Scouts, about 200 assembled for a special program, that "Mars looks like it could have supported life."
Meyer told the elementary-age girls that after Curiosity lands it will become the "first roving analytical lab." This is the first of its kind to land on any planet, he told the Scouts. He said the lab can study minerals, chemicals and geological finds on Mars.
Meyer told the Scouts Curiosity has four goals. To:
- Determine whether Mars could ever have supported life
- Study Mars' climate
- Study Mars' geology
- Plan for possible future human mission to Mars
The Scouts asked Meyer several questions, including how will Curiosity return to earth (it won't), how fast it can travel on the surface of Mars (about 30 miles per hour) and how long it can operate (about 1 Martian year or just under 700 days).