UPDATE: Mars Curiosity Rover Set to Land Sunday




The stage is set for Sunday’s landing of Mars Science Laboratory. The landing MSL with its rover Curiosity is scheduled for Sunday at 10:30 p.m.

The world will be watching via social networks, and NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are using every opportunity to make certain anyone who wants to follow the mission is connected.


Seven field centers across the United States have been set up to preview the landing. Ames Research Center in Moffitt Field, CA, Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL, Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA and JPL in La Cañada all have centers where they are virtually connected.



And of course people can always follow the landing on Facebook or Twitter.


MSL launched on Nov. 26, 2011 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It is scheduled to land on Mars near the base of Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater. By the time it gets to it landing destination the spacecraft will have traveled about 352 million miles.  The total cost of the mission is $2.5 billion.
At a morning briefing at JPL, Lori Garver answered the question as to why explorers go to Mars.


“Why do we go to Mars?” she asked. “Because we can.” 

And now with the technology that is available there is no question of  whether we should explore.
“Now that we can of course we must,” she said.


The Curiosity rover contains a science laboratory like no other sent to Mars. It is larger than any other rover and will have a different landing than the others.


The landing of the last rovers on Mars, Opportunity and Spirit, were over nine years ago. The two rovers had an official mission of 90 days. Spirit continued to explore until March 2010. Opportunity is still rolling along continuing to send data.  Curiosity’s primary mission is one Martian year, or 98 weeks.
As is with all Martian explorations the mission will be to follow the water. To see if there is any evidence of life.


But first is the ending of the spacecraft’s travel to Mars and the “nail biting” seven minutes of landing, which will be completely auto

NASA/JPL will continue to send information out via social networks through the landing and into the following days after to assess the mission.  Stay connected and get the updates- follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook and download their apps on Android, iPhone/iPad and Windows Phone.