Had a few updates on some really good sources for MSL/Curiosity coverge...
UPDATES ARE IN BOLD
The NASA Mars rover Curiosity (also called MSL) is scheduled to land on the red planet this coming Sunday night Aug 5th at 10:31 pm PDT/1:31 am EDT (Monday morning Aug 6th). For us space geeks this is the Super Bowl, the Olympics and Christmas all rolled into one nail-bitting event! So what's the best way to join the festivities this weekend?
First off, you can learn more about the landing event. The following video has been all over the internet, but in case you haven't seen it take a look. It's a video called "seven minutes of terror" that goes through the most ciritical 7-minutes of Curiosity's Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) event. NASA's John Grunsfeld also has a good video talking about the MSL landing.
Now that you know just how "crazy complicated" this Mars landing is, how about taking a look at the whole event right now? JPL has an absolutely amaazing tool that runs in your web browser called "Eyes on the Solar System." NASA Eyes is like have a virtual 3D solar system right on your computer screen for you to control. Here is a really good video demonstrating "Eyes on the Solar System." Now that you know WHAT NASA Eyes is, go to "Eyes on the Solar System" website. You will be prompted to install the Unity plugin into your web browser, but once you have done that you are good to go. There are two things you can do with NASA Eyes with respect to the MSL landing. The first is to watch an animation of the full entry/descent/landing sequence. The front page of the NASA Eyes website has a button labeled "click here" within the Curiosity Rover feature box. This takes you to a live animation of MSL. At any time during the animation you can press "preview mode" button in the upper left hand corner of the screen to see an animation of the EDL event. Of course, if you visit NASA Eyes during the actual landing the live animation will show you exactly where MSL is in real time. The other thing that JPL does with this tool is display actual science data (pictures, videos, measurements, etc...) along with the animations of the spacecraft or rover. So once Curiosity (MSL) starts collecting data you may be able to access some of that data via the NASA Eyes web browser tool. NASA Eyes is truly a hidden gem...enjoy!
How about television coverge. Well, there is plenty. NASA TV can be viewed on the web here or on check your local cable tv listings for the channel for NASA tv is your area. Below are the planned events leading up to the landing: (all times below are Eastern Daylight Time)
Friday Aug 3rd
6 - 8 a.m. - Live Satellite Interviews on Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover Landing – KSC
8 a.m. – Replay of NASA Science News Conference – MSL Mission Science Overview – HQ
9 a.m. – Replay of NASA Science News Conference – Mission Engineering Overview – HQ
12:30 - 2:30 p.m. - NASA Social for the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover Landing - JPL
5:30 - 9:30 p.m. - Live Satellite Interviews on Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover Landing - JPL
Saturday Aug 4th
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. - NASA Science News Conference - Mars Science Laboratory
Sunday Aug 5th
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. - NASA Science News Conference Mars Science Laboratory
6 - 7 p.m. - NASA Science News Conference - NASA Science Mission Directorate - JPL
11 p.m. - Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover Landing Coverage of Entry Decent and Landing (Commentary #1 Begins 11:30 p.m.) - JPL
There are still yet other ways to follow the MSL activities.
-Follow @MarsCuriosity on Twitter
-"Like" the Mars Curiosity page on Facebook
-Dowload the free iOS app Spacecraft 3D, which has an augmented reality version of the Curiosity rover for your iPhone or iPad.
-Want to attend a Mars Curiosity event in-person? Check out the NASA event map and find an event you can attend over the weekend in your area!
-Heather Archuletta (@Pillownaut on Twitter) has a very complete map/listing of MSL landing events around the world
-Wired has an excellent article on ways to watch the live coverage
-See the full detailed timeline for the Curiosity entry, descent and landing sequence in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) here. In order to convert UTC time to EDT subtract 4 hours from UTC
-NASA has a really good website with a very complete list of MSL related videos, social media pages and education related materials
-A really great article and set of videos from ESA on how the Mars Express spacecraft is supporting the MSL landing