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Curiosity: NASA’s next mission to Mars

The day has finally arrived! In just a few hours, at 1:30 AM Eastern time, the Mars rover “Curiosity” will land on Mars at Gale Crater and begin sending NASA images and data. This is set to be one of the most difficult feats of robotic exploration ever attempted.

The landing will end a 36-week flight from Earth and begin at two-year prime mission on Mars. Researchers will use Curiosity’s 10 science instruments to investigate whether Martian environmental conditions have ever been favorable for microbial life. [1]

Curiosity was designed to assess Mars’ environment and determine the planet’s habitability. The $2.5 billion rover will drill into the Martian soil and use its onboard computer to analyze rocks, soil samples, and local geologic data in order to provide a better look at the Martian environment’s past.

“One of the most difficult feats of robotic exploration ever attempted.”

If you want a front row seat for the action, Wired will be hosting two live streams of the Mars landing tonight. The first live feed will air tonight, August 5th, from 11:30PM to 2AM Eastern, and will feature commentary from NASA scientists and engineers that worked on Curiosity. The second will be an audio-only stream from mission controllers as they track Curiosity’s progress, which will begin August 5th (again, tonight) at 11:30PM Eastern. If you’re interested in learning more about Nasa’s newest rover, we have collected a list of available resources for you to peruse!

Source: NASA, Wired