Mars Rover Curiosity Landing Tonight

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Aug. 5 2012 11:53 AM

Mars Rover Curiosity Landing Tonight After "Seven Minutes of Terror"

We know what any church-going NASA employees will be praying for today: a soft-ish landing

Our new Mini Cooper-sized and experiment-laden super-rover, Curiosity, will hopefully touch down on the Red Planet this weekend for the biggest rover mission ever conducted there, to search for a biological history of the planet.

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That is, if it doesn't auger in instead. Dubbed the “Seven Minutes Of Terror" by it's team, Curiosity's Martian landing is going to be one heck of a nail-biter, utilizing jettisoned heat shields, maneuvering rockets, a giant parachute and a self-sacrificing Sky Crane—all preprogrammed and computer-controlled. With a 14-minute lag in communications between the two planets, mission control on Earth won’t know immediately if they succeeded or have just given Mars a new 2.5 billion dollar crater.

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The surface of Mars will hopefully witness the safe landing of the Mars Rover Curiosity today at the Gale Crater, when NASA attempts to land the largest rover ever on the surface of the Red Planet.

Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona via Getty Images

But NASA doesn't plan to bite their nails alone. The Space Agency has announced it will broadcast the historic event live in Times Square beginning 11:30 p.m. Sunday. To prepare and stay calm, maybe we can all watch the video about the mission … narrated by William Shatner.

Video by Paca Thomas.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.