Nasa braces for 7 min terror Mars plunge

2012-08-05 20:53
An artist's rendition of the Mars Curiosity rover. (AP)

An artist's rendition of the Mars Curiosity rover. (AP)

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VIDEO: Mars rover

2012-07-17 08:19

This artist's concept animation on YouTube depicts key events of Nasa's Mars Science Laboratory mission, which launched in 2011 and land a rover, Curiosity, on Mars in August 2012.WATCH

Pasadena - The countdown to Mars is on.

Curiosity is on course to hit the top of the Martian atmosphere on Sunday night for what Nasa hopes would be a soft landing.

Nasa is bracing for the "seven minutes of terror" plunge. Before Curiosity dives through, mission controllers will pass out "lucky peanuts" as they have done for past missions.

Touchdown was set for 22:31 PDT (03:31 GMT).

Since there could be spotty communication during the descent to the surface, confirmation could be immediate or it could take hours or even days to know the outcome.

Curiosity is on a mission to study Mars' environment to determine whether conditions could have supported microbial life.

The $2.5bn project is the most sophisticated and expensive yet to Mars.

Read more on:    nasa  |  space

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