Get ready for NASA’s Curiosity rover landing on Australia??

August 5, 2012 | By | Add a Comment
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Before you scratch your head and move onto another post, I do know the difference between Mars and the continent of Australia!

This artist’s concept depicts the moment that NASA’s Curiosity rover touches down onto the Martian surface. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

However, for all the Australians reading this post, NASA’s Curiosity rovers landing location has two links to Australia. Firstly, Curiosity will be landing inside Gale crater assuming all goes well. This 154 kilometer diameter crater is named after Australian astronomer and banker Walter F. Gale (1865–1945), who discovered several comets and drew maps of Mars and Jupiter. And the second link? If you use your imagination, the mound inside Gale, when viewed from orbit, resembles the shape of Australia.

This view of Gale Crater is derived from a combination of data from three Mars orbiters. The view is looking straight down on the crater from orbit. Gale Crater is 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter. Mount Sharp rises about 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) above the floor of Gale Crater. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS

On a more serious note, Curiosity will touch down tomorrow afternoon (Monday 6 August 2012) at 3.31pm AEST. You can either watch the coverage live on NASA TV (via the Internet) or if you happen to live in Canberra, Australia drop into the NASA Deep Space Communication Complex and watch the action live. Detailed information about the landing phase of the Curiosity mission can be found here (Acrobat pdf file).

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