Sunday, August 05, 2012

Curiosity rover aims for Mars. Earth holds its breath.

Quick note: I've created this list in Twitter, AstronautsEtc., to consolidate all real-time chatter surrounding tonight's Curiosity landing on Mars. Please let me know if I'm missing anyone. Suggestions for additional resources below are welcome...just leave a comment or tweet me here.

I've never hidden my space cadet aspirations, and I'm not about to start now. My philosophy is a simple one:
  • Humankind is naturally inclined to explore.
  • At some point, we'll need to find some other place to live.
  • Space exploration is our only way out.
  • What we do "out there" represents the best of human achievement.
  • Even if we ourselves never orbit the planet or head to another world, our collective efforts benefit everyone on the planet. They also inspire the rest of us, no matter what we do, to aim higher in our own lives.
  • Science, technology, engineering and math (the so-called STEM fields) are pillars of economic, social and cultural competitiveness. They lie at the core of what we do in space.
  • Investments in space exploration, STEM and related fields are not wastes of money. Critics who claim the money would be better spent on eradicating poverty and fixing other problems "back here" on Earth are missing the point.
Okay, maybe not so simple. But you get my point. This stuff matters, and we need to do it. Which is why I'll be up late tonight watching coverage of the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars. I thought it might be a good idea to share a few resources on this major space event. Here goes:

Watching it live:
Coverage runs from 11:30 p.m. Saturday to 4:30 a.m. Eastern. Touchdown is set for 1:31 a.m. Eastern, but the earliest we'll know is 14 minutes later, as that's how long it takes the signal to reach Earth.

Additional Background:
Social Media:
  • @MarsCuriosity - Follow the rover on Twitter or visit its Facebook page.
  • 7 Minutes of Terror - A virally popular video produced by the JPL on the 7 minutes it'll take to slow down from 13,000 mph to a (hoped for) soft landing. This is a must-watch (the music rocks, too.)
  • Hashtags: #MarsCuriosity #MSL (feel free to suggest others if you're seeing them online.)
Media Roundups:
Update 1 - from Heather Archuletta, who blogs here, can be found on Facebook here, and who tweets here. I've been lucky to get to know her online, and if you follow one person for a lens into space exploration, make sure it's her. She knows the folks right at the very center of the MSL program - scientists, engineers, program managers, basically the gurus to end all gurus - and suggests we all follow them in Twitter:
  • NASA JPL - Main Twitter account for the lab.
  • @marsroverdriver - Scott Maxwell - Drove both MER vehicles as well as Curiosity
  • @steltzner - Adam Steltzner - EDL Lead Mechanical Engineer (& rock star)
  • @RaySBaker - Ray Baker - EDL and Propulsion Systems Engineer
  • @LeeCuriosity - Steven Lee - Guidance, Navigation and Control Systems Manager and Strategic Uplink Lead
  • @SteveWSell - JPL Aerospace Engineer, EDL Landing Team & Sky Crane Specialist
  • @Doctor_Astro - Anita Sengupta - JPL Sr Systems Engineer
  • @KeriOnMars - Texas A&M Master's atmospheric sciences student. Curiosity team member focusing on MastCam investigation.
  • @icancallubetty - Allen Chen - EDL Operations and Flight Dynamics Lead for JPL. Also the voice of Mission Control for EDL.
  • @doug_ellison - JPL Visualization Producer
  • @bellutta - Paolo Bellutta - MER and MSL rover driver
  • @Matt_Heverly - MSL rover driver
  • @marssciencegrad - MSL science operations
  • @tyrannytv - John Beck Hoffmann - wrote, directed, produced, shot & scored the viral (and incredible) video, 7 Minutes of Terror.
To keep things handy for us all, I've added these folks to my AstronautsEtc. list in Twitter. For a one-stop lens into what the key folks are tweeting leading up to, during and following EDL, follow this list.

Your turn: I'll add more links in the leadup to the landing here, but I'll need your help: Please feel free to leave additional suggestions in a comment here. Also, I'd love to hear what you've got planned for the landing. I'll be online (Twitter handle: @carmilevy) and hope to see you virtually, too!

* Site may not load, as it's under serious demand in the leadup to the landing.


CorvusCorax12 said...

thanks for the reminder, have been watching the grand girls and TV consisted of treehouse.Will check out the links.

PillowNaut said...

Awesome compilation! For Twitter, you may also want to add some of the heavy hitters on the MSL team at the Jet Propulsion laboratory:
These are real NASA scientists, engineers, program managers and one genuine driver :)

cloudia charters said...

I was there (on B&W TV in my elementary school class room)

"God speed, John Glenn"

I'm on board, Carmi

Wishing You a Sweet Week
with Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Stuart Clark said...

Fantastic to watch this tonight and share it with the world. That goodness this one made it.