NASA plans to broadcast the landing of the Mars Curiosity rover when the craft touches down on the red planet on Aug. 5, the agency says.
To celebrate the landing, live video of the touchdown will be streamed to NASA and non-NASA sites around the country, including to a giant television screen that hangs over New York’s Times Square, an agency official said.
“In the city that never sleeps, the historic Times Square will be the place for New Yorkers to participate in this historic landing,” John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science missions, said in a statement. “When you think of all the big news events in history, you think of Times Square, and I can think of no better venue to celebrate this news-making event on Mars.”
Curiosity lifted off in November 2011, and after traveling 35 million miles will plunge through the Martian atmosphere at hundreds of miles per hour. If the landing goes as planned, the spacecraft’s parachutes will deploy slowing it enough so that a rocket-powered “Sky Crane” can fire enabling the crane to hover over the planet and lower the rover to the surface, NASA says.
NASA’s broadcast of Curiosity’s landing will originate from Mission Control at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where the rover was designed. The broadcast is scheduled to begin at 11 p.m. EDT Sunday (Aug. 5) on its Public and Education Channels and on its Media Channel and continues until 4 a.m. EDT Monday (Aug. 6), the agency says. The actual touchdown is scheduled for 1:31 a.m. Monday EDT.
A map listing all the locations carrying the landing is on NASA’s website at http://go.nasa.gov/QtmuY7.