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Mars Rover Viewing Party Set for This Weekend

As NASA's Mars Curiosity nears its final destination, Earthlings prepare to watch.

Local residents interested in watching the Mars rover Curiosity make its landing on the red planet can do so in East Meadow.

NASA has arranged viewing parties across the country, including one in East Meadow, for the public to watch the all-or-nothing touchdown of its most ambitious Mars mission yet.

The East Meadow Public Library MSL Landing Event will be held Monday evening. The Library is located at 1886 Front Street.

For more information about the event, contact Judith Schanzer at 516-794-2570 or jschanzer@eastmeadow.info.

Long Islanders could also catch the event at the located beneath the New Year's Eve Ball. The show begins at 11:30 p.m. with touchdown expected at around 1:30 a.m.

Curiosity, also known as the Mars Science Laboratory, has a pretty exciting time ahead of it. It's detailed in NASA's aptly named video called Seven Minutes of Terror.

The complex spacecraft encapsulating the rover must deal with the 16,000 degrees of heat generated by entering the planet's atmosphere at 13,000 mph. A parachute will slow it down.

It will all happen in seven minutes on autopilot.

Because of the time delay caused by Mars' current distance of more than 150 million miles, scientists and viewers around the world won't know if the landing has been a success or failure for another seven minutes.

Talk about a nail-biter.

The real work doesn't begin until Curiosity is on the ground. The rover - which is the size of a SUV - will search for signs of microscopic life in the Martian soil.

And if the most optimistic hopes for the mission come true, this machine could finally answer one of the greatest questions ever asked.

Are we alone?

Steve August 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Congratulations to AEROFLEX Hauppauge!!!! FYI, everything that moves on the that rover is due to Long Island engineers at a LI company, 'hope it works {;) A small group of engineers did all the design work, the build and the techs did all testing. Best of luck to you guys, you know who you are and my most congratulations! Shout outs to Gerry, Boz, Bill, Steve, Aybat, and the rest of the group at Aeroflex.

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