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Seven Minutes Of Terror54:29
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With Wade Goodwyn in for Tom Ashbrook.

NASA’s viral video “seven minutes of terror” and what it’s like to land on Mars.

This artist's concept depicts a sky crane lowering NASA's Curiosity rover onto the Martian surface. (JPL-Caltech/NASA)
This artist's concept depicts a sky crane lowering NASA's Curiosity rover onto the Martian surface. (JPL-Caltech/NASA)

Have you seen the web video that’s gone viral called 7 minutes of terror? No it’s not filled with horrific scenes from Syria or Iraq. It’s an amazing depiction of all the things that have to go right in the landing sequence of NASA’s new Mar’s rover.

The production values are straight out of Industrial Light and Magic but the terror of the scientists during the seven minutes of landing inside a communication blackout will be all too real.

This hour, On Point.  Billions of your tax dollars at stake in the latest attempt to find evidence of life on Mars.
-Wade Goodwyn

Guests

J. Kelly Beatty, contributing editor at Sky & Telescope magazine.

Anita Sengupta, senior systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Ashwin Vasavada, deputy project scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory.

From The Reading List

NASA JPL You can find more information about the Mars mission here.

Christian Science Monitor "NASA scientists say that the Mars Curiosity rover's audacious August 5 landing plan, which involves a hypersonic parachute, retrorockets, and a hovering 'sky crane' system is exactly what is needed for the $2.5 billion rover."

SPACE "When NASA's next Mars rover, Curiosity, arrives at the Red Planet next month, it will help pave the way for the humans that might one day follow."

NBC News "Many have been fretting about the seemingly implausible, risky landing strategy of the new Mars rover Curiosity set to arrive on the Red Planet next month, but engineers say the worry is overblown."

Video: Seven Minutes Of Terror

Video: Mars Mission Annimation

Check out an artist's depiction of the Mars mission.

Video: Martian Dune Buggy

See the rover in action.

This program aired on July 26, 2012.

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