In less than a month, we will be treated to one of the most exhilarating rides in the solar system. Curiosity (The Mars Science Laboratory) may have had a pretty long journey since its launch last year but perhaps the hardest, most dangerous part is yet come…
This video makes it clear why James Cameron used to be on a NASA Advisory Council. The drama built into the mission has the making of a Hollywood blockbuster (it even has a laser that it shoots to boil off rocks!) but for planetary scientists the scientific drama will equally thrilling. Almost as soon as the rover lands, it will begin science operations and data will start flowing back to Earth.
This car-sized rover has some of the best instruments sent to the red planet to study its geologic history and for the first time since the Viking missions it will also attempt to detect chemical building blocks of biogenic molecules that might indicate the presence of active life on Mars.
On August 5th, be sure to tune in to NASA TV for live coverage of the landing. We will post more information on that closer to the date.