Jul 30, 2014
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Mars Rover Set to Land at 1:30 a.m. Monday

Was there life on Mars? We may find out—if the car-sized rover survives re-entry.

Mars Rover Set to Land at 1:30 a.m. Monday

After its nine-month, 127 million-mile journey, the Mars rover Curiosity is scheduled to make landing on the surface of the Red Planet around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Previous Mars rovers have more closely resembled Johnny Five than the Batmobile, but Curiosity is the latest and greatest in billion-dollar exploration technology.

It boasts a full complement of scientific tools, including those for analyzing the carbon content of minerals found on the planet's surface, which could help determine whether it once hosted life.

Even with highly scientific missions such as these, there's always an element of risk and uncertainty. NASA has dubbed the complicated rover landing procedure " Seven Minutes of Terror" for the time in which the machine will make its unassisted descent.

There's an approximately 14-minute delay in radio transmissions from Mars to Earth, and so by the time NASA actually receives confirmation that the plucky machine has entered the atmosphere of the planet, its fate will already have been decided.

It would make for thrilling television, but the only place around here to be guaranteed a seat at the broadcast is on the Internet, where NASA is hosting streaming feeds of the event.

Cue up the Bowie, chill the champagne and plan to arrive a little late to your desk Monday.

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