Tonight’s the night folks.
NASA’s 1-ton Curiosity rover is set to land inside the Red Planet’s Gale Crater at 10:31 p.m. PDT tonight (Aug. 5; 1:31 a.m. EDT and 0531 GMT on Aug. 6). As with any planetary landing, success is not a given, and tensions may be especially high tonight given Curiosity’s elaborate, unprecedented landing sequence.
So, as I type this, that’s about 3 hours away… Keeping my fingers crossed. Last time I did a comparison of successful to failed Mars missions, it was very close to
50% 35%. Mars is a very tricky place to land a spaceship. There is just enough atmosphere to force you to deal with it, but not enough to cushion the landing through air braking. A real problem.