Curiosity’s landing on Mars: only two days left until “seven minutes of terror”
There are now only two days left until Curiosity, the biggest and most complex Mars rover yet, attempts what is also the most complicated landing so far. It will be lowered to the surface via cables hanging down from the descent capsule - the so-called “sky crane” - a technique not used before until now.
Typically, landers and rovers take about seven minutes to descend through Mars’ atmosphere and land on the surface, a brief but scary period of time known as the “seven minutes of terror.” Landing on Mars is not easy, and a number of previous missions have failed. The rover scientists are confident that Curiosity can land safely, but recognize the risks involved.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech