Mars weather forecast 'good' for NASA landing

Aug 05, 2012

The weather conditions on Mars are expected to be favorable when NASA's $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory attempts its risky landing on August 6, the US space agency said Saturday.

"Mars is playing nice and we are going to get good conditions for Sunday," said MSL deputy project scientist Ashwin Vasavada at a new briefing ahead of the landing set for 0531 GMT on Monday (10:31 pm on Sunday Pacific time).

A dust storm spotted days ago near the landing site has dissipated into a "fairly harmless cloud of dust," he said.

"That probably will not reach Gale Crater by the time we land," he said, adding that it was not "expected to affect entry, descent and landing in any meaningful way."

The is carrying a complex chemistry toolkit for analyzing rocks and soil in the hunt for signs of past life on the Red Planet.

The six-wheeled vehicle is the size of a small car and is due to be lowered onto the surface in a high-drama operation that includes spacecraft separation, parachute dropdown, a rocket-powered and a tethered soft landing.

Explore further: Mysteries of space dust revealed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Are we alone? NASA's Mars rover aims to find out

Aug 05, 2012

Are we alone? Or was there life on another planet? NASA's $2.5 billion dream machine, the Mars Science Laboratory, aims to take the first steps toward finding out when it nears Mars's surface on Monday.

NASA confident ahead of nail-biter Mars landing

Aug 03, 2012

NASA said Thursday all was well ahead of its nail-biting mission to Mars, with its most advanced robotic rover poised to hunt for clues about past life and water on Earth's nearest planetary neighbor.

NASA rover launch to Mars delayed to Nov 26

Nov 21, 2011

The US space agency has postponed by one day its plan to launch the biggest rover ever to Mars, with the liftoff of the Mars Science Laboratory now set for November 26.

NASA in high gear for Mars rover launch

Nov 26, 2011

The US space agency is poised to launch the most powerful and advanced robotic rover ever built to explore Mars and hunt for signs that life may once have existed on the red planet.

Recommended for you

Mysteries of space dust revealed

Aug 29, 2014

The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks open a door to studying the origins of the ...

A guide to the 2014 Neptune opposition season

Aug 29, 2014

Never seen Neptune? Now is a good time to try, as the outermost ice giant world reaches opposition this weekend at 14:00 Universal Time (UT) or 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, August 29th. This means that the distant ...

Informing NASA's Asteroid Initiative: A citizen forum

Aug 28, 2014

In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially ...

Image: Rosetta's comet looms

Aug 28, 2014

Wow! Rosetta is getting ever-closer to its target comet by the day. This navigation camera shot from Aug. 23 shows that the spacecraft is so close to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that it's difficult to ...

User comments : 0