Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Ton Of Curiosity (MSL) Resources

We're just three days away from landing on the red planet in a way we've never landed there before. I just heard chief engineer Adam Steltzner call it "the craziest landing maneuver possible" in a live stream. That's exciting stuff. This isn't just the next best thing to landing a human on Mars—this is like landing a fully equipped geologist on the planet. For those of us born after the Apollo missions, this is going to be the most amazing feat of space exploration we've ever seen.
"That's not science fiction, that's going to happen on Monday?" — Stephen Colbert

If you're new to Curiosity, let me suggest GetCurious.com as a starting point. If you're on Netflix Instant, search for "NOVA + MARS" for some great programs about Spirit and Opportunity, two previous rovers that exceeded all expectations. You'll get a first hand feel for just how daunting the challenge is. I can't think of many other jobs as stressful as what these men and women from a broad range of countries do.

A post on r/space brought to my attention additional resources:
You can view the stream at any of these places:
[1] http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2[2] http://www.livestream.com/nasatvhd[3] http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html 
You can also follow along in parallel with 3D simulation at [4] http://eyes.nasa.gov ([5] here's a video of what it looks like).
You should also get the official NASA app for Android or iPhone as well as a Zulu (UTC) time app to get yourself on NASA time; Curiosity is schedule to land at 5:31[UTC] on August 6th.

Seriously, keep the children up for this one, even if you have to call them in sick to school the next day.

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