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Posts Tagged ‘#countdowntoMars’

This is quite a month for Mars missions. NASA’s Curiosity rover has been on the planet since 2012, toddling around mountains and craters (ahem, doing serious science, but it’s so cute!), far beyond its expected lifetime.

Now if all goes well, it will get a little company.

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Due to good planetary positioning*, three spacecraft launched from Earth last July. Amal, the spacecraft helmed by the UAE, is now in position for orbital observations. China’s Tianwen-1 is orbiting now in preparation for a summer rover landing, and NASA’s Perseverance is slated to (fingers crossed!) land tomorrow February 18th around 3:55 p.m. ET.

I’m serious about the fingers crossed but though, because Perseverance is trying something dramatic, parachuting down to the surface, firing rockets for stability, then dropping cables to the surface. Here’s a video illustrating the process, aptly dubbed “7 Minutes of Terror,” of Entry, Descent, and Landing. 


Have I mentioned there’s an eleven-and-a-half minute comms delay? That’s the scary part. Once they put the quarter in, they just have to let the whole song play out.

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Want all the fun and none of the terror? Live near a Krispy Kreme shop?** Then February 18th is your lucky day! Krispy Kreme is offering a one-day only promotion

The Mars Doughnut: A Chocolate Kreme-filled doughnut dipped in caramel icing with a red planet swirl and sprinkled with chocolate cookie crumbs. This limited-edition doughnut is available in shops and online for one day only.

Mmmmmmars.

Buy these tomorrow or, if you were one of the many, many people who submitted your name for NASA’s “Send Your Name to Mars” campaign (me! oh wait, still no doughnut shop), print out your boarding pass and get a free doughnut.

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Want to get a better feel for what it’s like to actually drive a rover on the surface of Mars? There is a free augmented reality app lets you turn your backyard, or living room, or wherever into Mars. You can walk, drive the rover, explore or do science:

This New AR App is the Coolest Way to Learn About Mars

It’s definitely time to rewatch The Martian!

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* For more on how to calculate this, see Basics of Space Flight and Let’s Go to Mars! Calculating Launch Windows, or just rewatch The Martian. You know you want to!
** Like I used to, once upon a time!

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