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Monday, June 25, 2012

Where is curiosity right now?
NASA's next Mars rover, Curiosity, is slated to land on the Red Planet on Aug. 6, 2012 (EDT). Watch a real-time visualization of its journey through space and get up-to-date data sets using NASA's Eyes on the Solar System 3-D interactive. (Free browser plug-in required.)

One of the challenges to NASA's rover is the land site.
According to NASA "the car-sized rover will arrive closer to its ultimate destination for science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope that poses a landing hazard."
Revised landing target for Mars Rover Curiosity
This image shows changes in the target landing area for Curiosity,
the rover of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory project. I
mage credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS

"The landing target ellipse had been approximately 20 kilometers wide and 25 kilometers long. Continuing analysis of the new landing system's capabilities has allowed mission planners to shrink the area to approximately 7 kilometers wide and 20 kilometers long, assuming winds and other atmospheric conditions are as predicted.
Even with the smaller ellipse, Curiosity will be able to touch down at a safe distance from steep slopes at the edge of Mount Sharp."
font NASA

That day will be a stressful day at NASA (at least, 7 minutes of terror):

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