Stop what you’re doing and watch this. Invite whoever you’re with to watch it, too. In just 44 days, NASA will attempt the most amazing planetary landing in the history of space exploration. It’s a plan so remarkable, so technically impressive, so very different from anything ever attempted, that even the Agency’s engineers have been known to call it crazy. Not because they don’t believe in its design, but because it is that mind-numbingly awesome.
We’ve talked about the upcoming landing of NASA’s SUV-sized Curiosity rover before. We’ve told you about the heat shields, the supersonic parachute, and the rocket-powered sky crane. But you’ve never seen the landing presented like this. This is exploration through the eyes of those closest to the Mars rover project. It is tension, anxiety, and anticipation. It’s the sensation that overcomes you when you know exactly how much heart, emotion and energy you’ve poured into something, while being fully aware of what you stand to lose should things fall apart.
When Curiosity breaches Mars’ atmosphere on August fifth, it will take just seven minutes to descend to the planet’s surface safely. Find out why NASA calls them “the seven minutes of terror”.