Curiosity Rover Animation on Mars
August 5, 2012

Curiosity’s 7 Minutes Of Terror – Live

Lee Rannals will be blogging LIVE tonight with constant updates of NASA’s mission to land Curiosity on Mars. Tune in and read as it happens LIVE, only here on!

Please note, this page is set to auto-refresh every 30 seconds so that you can be sure to constantly be reading the very latest post from Lee.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:45 (PST)

Lastly, here is a video of the crowd inside the newsroom at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory going nuts after Curiosity’s successful landing was announced.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:43 (PST)

Overall, this has been a pretty special experience for me.  I’d like to thank all of you for being a part of history with me, and redOrbit for allowing me the opportunity to blog it live for you.  Here’s to years of research and plenty of articles to write about Curiosity’s findings,


Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:41 (PST)

P.S. Seth Green is standing about 20 feet away from me.  I’m pretty sure I heard him scream like a girl when the rover landed.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:38 (PST)

Another image is coming in showing the shadow of the Curiosity rover on Mars.  NASA engineers are going nuts over here!

NASA says this is about all the data we are going to get, but things are looking great!

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:36 (PST)

The image is of the dust cover.  Now, we have another image from the high-resolution camera, showing the horizon and the rover’s wheel successfully on the surface of Mars.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:34 (PST)

We got thumbnails!

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:34 (PST)

Images are starting to come down!

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:33 (PST)

Touchdown confirmed!

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:32 (PST)

Sky Crane has started!

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:30 (PST)

Standing by for Sky Crane

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:29 (PST)

Parachute is deployed!  “We are decelerating,” NASA says.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:28 (PST)

Vehicle is still doing good!

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:28 (PST)

MSL is currently at an altitude of 17 kilometers.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:26 (PST)

Processing data from Odyessy!

Update – 08 /5/2012 – 10:25 (PST)

And yes, I was right, loud cheers directly.  Making me want to chant “USA.”

Update – 08/15/2012 – 10:25 (PST)

Curiosity has entered the Martian atmosphere!

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:24 (PST)

30 seconds until entry

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:23 (PST)

NASA keeps saying they still hear Curiosity’s hearbeat tones.  I am assuming this is how they can tell if the spacecraft is still alive.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:22 (PST)

NASA says its two-minutes until entry.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:20 (PST)

MSL is still just a spacecraft, and hasn’t quite turned into an aircraft yet.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:19 (PST)

We are now 5 minutes until entry, NASA says.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:19 (PST)

MSL is nearing entry of Mars atmosphere.  Once it happens, I’m assuming all the NASA Tweeters behind me will give a pretty loud cheer.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:18 (PST)

NASA official says so far everything is going very well, and we might get some pictures today just a few minutes after landing.

Update – 08/5/2012- 10:17 (PST)

Vehicle has separated from its Cruise Balance Mass Devices (CBMD).

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:16 (PST)

MSL is now spinning down and turning for entry.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:15 (PST)

NASA said we have received cruise stage separation.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:03 (PST)

Currently, NASA is standing by waiting to hear from Odyssey, a NASA spacecraft orbiting around Mars that will help relay back information about Curiosity’s landing.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:02 (PST)

NASA says only 22 minutes until entry.   Things are continuing to look “very good.”

Update – 08/5/2012 – 10:00 (PST)

JPL engineers are passing out peanuts.  Apparently it’s a tradition thats been around the lab for years, kinda a superstitious thing.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 9:57 (PST)

NASA is thanking the crew team for bringing Curiosity over 350 million miles to Mars.  Curiosity is in “fantastic” shape.  “Goodluck, and see you on the other side of Mars,” NASA said.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 9:55 (PST)

It may take a while for that video to load for you, as I have just posted it to redOrbit.  Check back every few minutes to see if it’s ready to go.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 9:53 (PST)

Check out this NASA video that has just been posted on redOrbit called “Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror.”

Update – 08/5/2012 – 9:51 (PST)

NASA says so far everything is going “pretty good.”

Update – 08/5/2012 – 9:44 (PST)

Just incase anyone out there doesn’t quite grasp how complicated this “seven minutes of terror” landing will be, NASA just called it “crazy” as well.

It takes 14 minutes for the spacecraft to send a signal down to Earth.  So, when we first get word that we’ve touched the top of the atmosphere, the vehicle has already been alive or dead at the surface for seven minutes.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 9:40 (PST)

NASA says we are about 45 minutes from entry!  Telcom has confirmed that they turned off the transmitter, so Curiosity is only speaking to NASA in a one-way transmission.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 9:37 (PST)

Here is a picture of a model of the Mars Pathfinder, a rover NASA sent out to the Red Planet back in 1996.

This is a model of NASA’s Mars Pathfinder rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the night of the Curiosity landing.

Update – 08/5/2012 – 9:35 (PST)

NASA is giving a rundown of what will be happening once MSL enters Mars.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:34 (PST)

Here is a picture of part of my view in the news room.  It’s filling up more and more as Curiosity inches closer to its destination.

Here is a view of the newsroom during the Curiosity landing on August 5, 2012 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:32 (PST)

Checking in on the Mars Science Laboratory, NASA says that Curiosity is currently “pretty much right on target.”

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:30 (PST)

NASA says they will take a picture from Curiosity about four minutes after it lands, but the picture may not show up quite yet because as Earth starts to fall away from the Martian horizon, NASA will be losing its communication with the rover for a bit.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:27 (PST)

They are showing Curiosity’s wheel on the commentary.  Let’s just say, anyone who needed some new rims for their vehicle would be quite jealous of what NASA engineers have created.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:26 (PST)

NASA says there is a possibility that we may never know whether or not the rover actually landed successfully on Mars.  Lots of mathematics go into getting Curiosity to our celestial neighbor.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:23 (PST)

Here is a picture of the Curiosity model on display here at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This is a model of the Curiosity rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the night of the big Mars landing.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:22 (PST)

Alluvial Fans are broken pieces of rock that are were in a flow of water that spread down into a lower area.  The rover’s landing spot lies in an Alluvial fan, which is why NASA believes there was to be water at the landing site a long time ago. Curiosity will be looking at the remnants of whether Gale Crater use to be a water-rich environment.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:20 (PST)

For those of you wondering what Curiosity will be doing, the rover will be landing on Gale Crater to study and see if the planet was ever able to have the proper make-up to host life.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:14 (PST)

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver is now being interviewed on the video commentary.

This is an image of Lori Garver being interviewed for NASA commentary, being shown in the newsroom at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:13  (PST)

In front of the commentary screen, there is a set of seats with microphones and name tags set up on stage.  Names include: Charles Bolden, the Administrator of NASA, John Grunsfield NASA’s Science Mission Directorate; Charles Elachi, Director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Peter Theisinger, Science Director at JPL; Adam Steltzner, head of the Mars Science Laboratory mission; Arthur Amador, Mission Manager; and John Grotzinger, a project scientist.

These guys will be doing a press conference once Curiosity has landed on Mars.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:12 (PST)

Transmitter is up, and Curiosity is officially on its own to fly!

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:04 (PST)

Looks like the train of celebrities is over.  The newsroom is emptying out of the Tweeters and filling up with the press now.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:02 (PST)

They just kicked on the commentary over the loudspeakers in here, officially drowning out Bill Prady.  I guess the NASA sound guy doesn’t really care too much about what the co-creator of Big Bang Theory has to say.

Update 08/5/2012 – 9:00

Big Bang Theory’s co-creator Bill Prady at the NASA social prior to the Curiosity landing.


Big Bang Theory’s co-creator Bill Prady just took the stage at the NASA social.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:55 (PST)

I’m a little surprised at all the celebrities NASA brought in to this event.  I guess being located around the LA area has its advantages.  Also, Wil Wheaton just left the stage.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:53 (PST)

Here is a view of the live transmission of inside the main hub at JPL.  All the engineers are keeping up with Curiosity’s whereabouts, getting ready for its big moment.

Engineers standby for Curiosity’s big moment at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:50 (PST)

I’m a little surprised Wil Wheaton is without a Sheldon Cooper by his side.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:47 (PST)

Wil Wheaton just took the stage at the NASA social.

Wil Wheaton, who is famous for his character on Star Trek and currently plays himself on TV’s Big Bang Theory, at the NASA social prior to the Curiosity landing.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:40 (PST)

Rapper Will.I.Am is currently being featured on the commentary.

Here is Will.I.Am talking on the NASA broadcast.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:37 (PST)

June Lockhart just took the stage at the NASA social.  For those of you who were born after the Apollo missions came to an end, Lockhart is famous for her roles on the television shows Lassie and Lost in Space.

June Lockhart talking with the Tweeters at the NASA social prior to the Curiosity landing on Sunday night.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:32 (PST)

NASA has begun its commentary of the Curiosity landing!

Update 08/5/2010 – 8:31 (PST)

Jon Hamm from Mad Men just took the stage at the NASA social, he’s also taking questions from the Tweeters.

Mad Men’s Jon Hamm talks at the NASA social prior to the Curiosity landing on Sunday.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:27 (PST)

Trebek is officially done talking, and NASA officials are setting up the news feed for the landing.  For those of you who didn’t think NASA was already cool, how about this NASA motorcycle to tickle your fancy for the U.S. space agency?

This is one of NASA’s cooler forms of transportation. The motorcycle was sitting in the media parking lot at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory before the Curiosity landing Sunday night.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:22 (PST)

Side-note about JPL, next to the parking lots you can find an Equestrian horseback riding facility.  Add that to your trivia show Trebek.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:17 (PST)

Everyone here thinks Alex is a genius because of his role on Jeopardy.  I’m starting to think the same thing.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:09 p.m. (PST)

Alex Trebek from Jeopardy just walked into the NASA social to take questions from Tweeters at JPL.

Alex Trebek taking the stage at NASA before Curiosity’s long journey comes to an end.

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:08 p.m. (PST)

Its less than thirty-minutes away until NASA starts its live broadcasts of Curiosity’s landing.  To update you about being at JPL, there is a media mall filled with all kinds of rover models, including a Curiosity model.  NASA wasn’t kidding when it said the size of the rover is about like a car.  Plenty of television stations are running around doing broadcasts around the event, as well as rapper Will.I.Am.  The NASA site also has lots of guests who are not a part of media, but signed up in time to be a part of the big event.

Update 08/5/2012 – 7:00 p.m. (PST)

We are about three hours and thirty-one minutes from Curiosity touching down on Mars’ surface.  Just incase you haven’t been keeping up, this is a live blog from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, being brought to you by redOrbit.  Live transmission of the landing hasn’t started yet, but once it does more information will be made available to you as it unfolds.  The transmission will begin at 8:30 p.m. (PST) from NASA.

Update 08/5/2012 – 6:27 p.m. (PST)

The moment to land is creeping closer, and the vibe felt at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory is one of anticipation.  To relieve a little of your anxiousness for things to get underway, here is an image by NASA of the Gale Crater.  The circle in the image is the landing zone of Curiosity, sitting alongside Mount Sharp.  In this area, scientists believe they have a really good shot at determining whether or not Mars has ever had conditions to host life by using the tools aboard Curiosity.

This is an image provided by NASA of Gale Crater, the space agency’s landing spot for Curiosity. This will be the home of NASA’s newest Mars rover. The circled area at the top right of the crater is the landing zone for Curiosity.
credit: NASA

Update 08/5/2012 – 3:49 p.m. (PST)

Well, we are now a little over six and a half hours out, and time has seemed to slow down a bit.  It took nearly nine months and about 352 million miles for Curiosity to reach its destination, but it seems the longest hours have been the ones leading up to the landing.  In the mean time, before live broadcast begins, you should try emailing the MSL team at NASA and tell them good luck on their upcoming seven minutes of terror.

Here is the link to email the NASA engineers:

Update 08/5/2012 – 8:12 a.m. (PST)

Its just under 14 and a half hours until Curiosity meets its destiny.  At this moment, the Mars Science Laboratory has its sites set on the Red Planet, and its target is getting closer and closer by the minute.  Another man made rover currently has a spectacular view of our celestial neighbor.

RedOrbit writer April Flowers, who is helping to cover the event, has created a music playlist for us to have going today as we all prepare for the big moment.  Here is the list of songs below to get your Spotify-on, and all prepped up for a new Martian landing:

“Moving to Mars” by Coldplay
“Life on Mars” by David Bowie
“Mars, the Bringer of War” by Gustav Holst
“The Case for Mars” by Symphony of Science
“Rocket Man” by Elton John
“Satellite of Love” by Lou Reed
“This is War” by Thirty Seconds to Mars
“Fruitcakes” by Jimmy Buffett
“Desdemona’s Building a Rocket Ship” by Jimmy Buffett
“Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars
“Man on the Moon” by R.E.M.
“The Galaxy Song” by Monty Python
“Walking on the Moon” by the Police
“Stellar” by Incubus
“I Took A Trip on a Gemini Space Ship” by David Bowie
“Star Man” by David Bowie
“Space Oddity” by David Bowie
“The Final Countdown” by Europe
“Dwarf Nebula Processional March” by Frank Zappa
“Major Tom” by Peter Schilling
“Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” by The Carpenters
“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Star Wars Theme and Cantina Band” by Meco
“To the Moon and Back” by Savage Garden
“Drops of Jupiter” by Train
“Stranger in a Strange Land” by Thirty Seconds to Mars
“Mars Needs Women” by Rob Zombie
“Mars” by Natalie Walker
“Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd
“Spaceman” by The Killers
“Mission (A World Record)” by Electric Light Orchestra
“Onward to the Edge” – Symphony of Science

Update 08/4/2012 – 10:32 p.m. (PST)

It is officially 24 hours until NASA lands its Curiosity rover on Mars.  This is a historic moment for both space exploration and America’s advancement in spacecraft engineering.  Keep your eyes on this page for the next 24 hours as we bring you live coverage from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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