New Yorkers can catch the much anticipated landing of NASA's $2.5 billion Curiosity rover on Mars in Times Square on August 6, according to Agence France Presse.
According to Space.com, the landing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will be broadcast on a giant LED screen in Times Square on Sunday night. The landing is scheduled for 1:31 a.m. on August 6, but the broadcast will run from 11:30 p.m. Sunday to 4 a.m. Monday.
"In the city that never sleeps, the historic Times Square will be the place for New Yorkers to participate in this historic landing," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science missions.
"When you think of all the big news events in history, you think of Times Square, and I can think of no better venue to celebrate this news-making event on Mars," he said in a statement, according to Space.com.
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Curiosity is equipped with a sophisticated roving toolkit for analyzing the Martian terrain for signs of microbial life, AFP noted. The car-sized vehicle will be lowered by a rocket-powered sky crane onto Mars so it can begin its two-year mission.
According to CNET, the nuclear-powered rover will search for the building blocks of life and evidence of past or present habitability. Before reaching the surface of Mars, it will have to endure temperatures of 3,800 degrees Fahrenheit during entry, deceleration of up to 15 Gs and a parachute inflating at supersonic velocity with a jerk of 65,000 pounds.
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The distance between Earth and Mars means it will take 13.8 minutes for the landing to be confirmed, said CNET.
Grunsfeld said, "The Curiosity landing is the hardest NASA robotic mission ever attempted in the history of exploration of Mars, or any of our robotic exploration. This is risky business."