Saturday, August 4, 2012

Curiosity - best chance to find Martian life

The Sky Crane will deliver the rover to the surface of Mars.
Many nails will be bitten!  (Image: NASA)
On Monday NASA's Curiosity rover will land on Mars.  It's the best chance yet to find evidence for ancient or even current Martian life. Curiosity will explore the huge Gale Crater and use its built-in chemistry lab to analyse the composition of rocks and look for organic molecules.

NASA video and audio.

The landing will be an autonomous procedure, and has been dubbed nail-bitingly intricate. 

This is the rover known formally as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), and it will undertake an unprecedented two-year hunt for signs of alien life.  It's the biggest, most expensive, and probably boldest, Mars mission ever attempted.

You can follow the landing in a live, 4-hour webcast on August 6th starting at 03:00 UTC (04:00 BST).  During the webcast, scientists, engineers and other experts will provide unique insight into the rover and the landing. Viewers can interact and ask questions.

It's hosted by Universe Today’s Fraser Cain, along with Dr. Pamela Gay and Dr. Phil Plait [1]. That’s an excellent line-up and it should make good viewing. The webcast will feature interviews with special guests, a live video feed from NASA of the landing, and reporters on location to interview members of the MSL team.

An alternative way to follow the landing is The Guardian’s live blog.

The landing itself is scheduled for 05:31 UTC Aug. 6.

For more on Mars ... read next ...

[1] I highly recommend Universe Today and their podcasts. Links : Recent podcasts; and their home page where you can subscribe to podcasts.

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