You watched the launch, bit your nails over computer simulations and even played the game, and it all comes down to today: NASA's Curiosity rover is about to land on Mars. The $2.5 billion vehicle has been en route to the red planet for eight months, and in a few short hours will spend seven terrifying minutes blindly making its way to the Martian surface -- only to make NASA scientists wait another full seven before reporting on its success or failure. The rover is flying solo.
That doesn't mean we can't be there in spirit, however: NASA TV will be broadcasting the event on Ustream, offering commentary from the minds behind the rover, as well as audio from mission control. The Curiosity Cam, which runs from 11:30PM until 2:00AM EDT and 3:30AM to 4:30AM EDT, will offer commentary from the scientists and engineers behind Curiosity, while a second feed (at NASA JPL Live, which runs from 11:30PM onward) will play audio from mission control. If all goes to plan, NASA will be able to share an image from Curiosity's navigation cameras, confirming its safe arrival on the Martian surface. Sounds like a hell of a show to us.
Read on to view the Curiosity Cam right here or check out the source links below to prep your evening (or early morning) viewing for yourself. Let us know your own thoughts on Curiosity's landing in the comments.
Update: Touchdown confirmed! The entire sequence went perfectly to plan, and rover Curiosity is now on the surface of Mars and sending telemetry data.
Update: NASA's press conference is now happening live.
Streaming by Ustream