Mars Rover ‘Curiosity’ Readies For Tricky Landing, With Laser In Tow | Talking Points Memo

Updated 1:16 p.m. ET, Tuesday, July 24

NASA’s most advanced Mars rover, Curiosity, is a little under two weeks away from its scheduled landing on the Martian surface.The August 6th landing is expected to be a nail-biting seven-minute long ordeal unlike anything NASA has attempted before, during which time the rover’s landing craft is supposed to abruptly slow from 13,000 miles-per-hour to zero, with the craft entering the Martian atmosphere, deploying a supersonic parachute, ejecting its heat shield, then the parachute itself, then igniting rocket thrusters underneath the rover, then the landing craft finally activating a “sky crane” to gently lower the rover into Mars’s Gale Crater near Mount Sharp, where scientists believe that liquid water once flowed over Mars’s surface.

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