The most complicated landing in NASA’s history will take place Monday, August 6 at 1:31am EDT when Curiosity, the 1-ton Mars rover, lands on the red planet.
What are being called “Seven minutes of terror” will be televised live in New York City’s Times Square.
Seven minutes are the window wherein NASA has to bring Curiosity from its 13,000 mph traveling speed down to 1.7 mph for a safe landing from 300 million miles away. At 180 mph, Curiosity will be released via a “sky crane” method with a backpack fitted with retrorockets controlling the descent speed lowering the rover by three nylon cords. Probably one of the most nerve-wracking parts is the uncertainty: because of Mars’ distance it takes 14 minutes for signals from the craft to come to NASA engineers here on earth.