NASA acknowledges the fact that most missions to Mars fail. The rocket goes off course or crashes, or the device lands broken, or works for a while then stops.
According to the latest press release, which has some interesting photos including the one shown here,
The gravitational tug of Mars is now pulling NASA’s car-size geochemistry laboratory, Curiosity, in for a suspenseful landing in less than 40 hours.
“After flying more than eight months and 350 million miles since launch, the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is now right on target to fly through the eye of the needle that is our target at the top of the Mars atmosphere,” said Mission Manager Arthur Amador of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
The spacecraft is healthy and on course for delivering the mission’s Curiosity rover close to a Martian mountain at 10:31 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5 PDT (1:31 a.m. Monday, Aug. 6 EDT). That’s the time a signal confirming safe landing could reach Earth, give or take about a minute for the spacecraft’s adjustments to sense changeable atmospheric conditions.
Follow Curiosity on Twitter here.
Here’s the latest video on the mission: