Matt's World Of Weather: Curious About Curiosity?

Should I Stay Up?
Yep! NASA is calling tonight’s landing “7 Minutes of Terror”. While it isn’t quite a Dark Night Rises action packed 3-hours, it is real life and the equipment these engineers are working with rivals that of Batman’s utility belt. That being said, drink some coffee or set the alarm clock, according to Curiosity engineers, the rover will touch Martian soil at 1:31am. Dealing with a Mars internet connection that spans over a billion miles and equals that of a dial-up modem means pictures from the rover won’t come back for nearly 2 hours after the landing or 3:31am Monday morning. NASA TV will cover the event starting at 10:30pm and I’m sure a lot of great information will be coming out of the coverage. At last check (1pm), nearly 3,000 people were already streaming the channel:

What You Need To Know:

Travel Time: 8 months and 10 days or…
254 Days or…
6,087 Hours or…
12,174 Simpsons/Seinfeld Episodes

Travel Distance:
352,000 Miles or…
130 trips from Cape Hatteras to Los Angeles.

Cost: Over $2.5 billion dollars or…
+$2,500,000,000 or…
3,314 Porsche 918 Spyders (at $845,000 a piece) or…
933,333,333 Gallons of milk (at $3 a gallon, based on last week’s grocery run) or…
11,200,000,000 cherry flavored airheads (at 25 cents a piece)

Where To Watch:
Matt Engelbrecht WITN

Martian Photos:
No Color, Low-Res: One-megapixel images will transmit back from Mars immediately after the rover has successfully landed. They will be gray scale and only 64X64 in size, you could call the first two images low-resolution “thumbnails”.

Color: The rover will take color pictures of the landing process, but they won’t be transmitted back until late Monday night. It is possible we will get our first full-resolution picture Monday evening, at which it would be as large as 192X144. For comparison sake, the image to your right is a 320X200 pixel image.

High Resolution: If the mast is deployed on time, really cool images will start coming in roughly 3 days after landing or late Wednesday/Thursday. The cameras that will go to work after the mast pushes up have the ability to resolve a golf ball ~80 feet away and will also take 360 degree panoramas around the rover. Additionally, two-megapixel color cameras will begin taking photos and sending back thumbnails, these will be some of the highest resolution photos of the rover’s new home. Full high resolution images will take a week to be downloaded, again, working with a dial-up connection here.

Video: To help navigate Curiosity, the rover will begin taking video of its landing ~1 mile above the surface. At 5 frames/second, the video will then be used (after being downloaded) to get a better, overhead view, or where the rover has landed.

Further Reading:
11 Curiosity Facts

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