Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
On Sunday night, August 5th at 10:31pm, Nasa’s rover Curiosity will land on Mars. The Science Center will be streaming the live Nasa feed in the Heikoff Dome Theater as our species attempts to put it’s most scientifically equipped, dune buggy sized space-robot on the Marian surface in search of signs of life.
“We'll look over the shoulders of mission controllers during live NASA TV coverage of the landing, and maybe even see Curiosity's first views of its new home on the Red Planet,” states a press release from the Science Center.
The special event begins at 8:30 with a Planetarium presentation, narrated by astronomer Dr. Lisa Will. The plan is to take a close-up look at the landing site, Gale Crater. Signs of water trail to the crater, which is the main reason Curiosity will be landing there.
“You can ‘ask an astronomer’ any lingering questions, play Xbox Kinect Rover Landing and Spacecraft 3D, and have your photo taken with a life-size display of Mars Rover Curiosity!”
The San Diego Astronomy Association will be setting up telescopes for viewing Mars, although it will be “low in the sky that evening, with limited visibility.”
The Sunday happenings at the Science Center are part of a two day event called Space Expo Weekend, which begins Saturday August 4th.
Curiosity contains 10 instruments for exploring the Martian surface. This includes an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, a radiation detector, sample analysis capabilities, and of course a camera. It will take 13.8 minutes to send information the 127 million mile distance from Mars to Earth that day, so real-time control of our space-drone(s) is not yet an option.
Public viewings of the event are taking place all over the country, at other science centers for example. Alternatively you can watch the live Nasa feed from Nasa’s website.
Mars Rover Curiosity Landing Event
SUNDAY AUGUST 5
8:30pm Special Planetarium presentation on Mars
9pm Ask an Astronomer and Ongoing NASA coverage
10:31pm Watch a live NASA feed of the Mars Rover landing
Members: $8/person, Non-Members: $10/person; Children 5-12: $5/
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Heikoff Dome Theater
1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101