|That's just silly: the street isn't wide enough|
to park a space shuttle!
At 1:15 am ET Curiosity will land. On Mars. And we'll see it live with less of a delay than NBC is showing the London Olympics.
And away we go!
10:15 p.m. We arrive at NASA headquarters, and are greeted by cool breezes and a chill in the air. Not. It's 83 degrees with 90% humidity. Thank you, Mid-Atlantic summers.
10:45 p.m. Security comes outside and apologizes for not being allowed to let us in until 11:30. It begins raining, and when that only makes it hotter, I silently begin to weep, missing San Diego's 74 and sunny everyday weather.
11:30 p.m. NASA lets us in at 11:30 on the dot, and we fill into the James Webb Auditorium. I'm wicked jealous of the 8 year old girl next to me who was smart enough to wear footed pajamas.
11:45 p.m. - 12:45 a.m. Lots of tweeting, Facebooking, and general geeking out as we watch the NASA TV feed from JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Pasadena, Calif.
12:50 a.m. We're informed Curiosity is within 5,000 miles of landing. A small cheer erupts in the auditorium.
|A room full of wicked smart, wicked excited folks at NASA HQ in DC.|
12:55 a.m. They begin passing around jars of peanuts at JPL. Mars Curiosity tweets: "Pass the Peanuts! Everyone's eating peanuts, right? They're an @NASAJPL good-luck tradition since Ranger 7 in 1964"
|Geek humor rocks.|
1:09 a.m. The normally chatty room gets markedly quieter.
1:12 a.m. Everyone's anxiously watching the JPL feed, hanging on every word.
|The Mars Exploration Program educational|
packets they gave out at NASA HQ.
1:15 a.m. Same JPL Dude: "In about 1 minute Curiosity will begin waking up."
1:17 a.m. A Different JPL Dude: "We're about 7 minutes to entry."
|The hands-on portion of the evening.|
1:26 a.m. JPL Lady: "We have a connection."
|The nylon rope, commonly used on ships,|
is what lowered Curiosity to the surface
of Mars. Yes, nylon rope.
1:27 a.m. People here in HQ are switching between nervous laughter and holding their collective breath.
1:28 a.m. 7 Minutes of Terror starts NOW!
1:30 a.m. "Signal still strong."
1:31 a.m. "We are on powered flight."
1:34 a.m. We've got landing!
1:35 a.m. We've got our first image! Folks at JPL and HQ laugh as they realize the image we're looking at is...Curiosity's wheel.
1:37 a.m. Cheers erupt everywhere as the hi res pic comes up. Of Mars.
1:39 a.m. Another picture comes in. Look! It's little WALL-E.
1:41 a.m. Tweet of the night goes to Jeff Fourst: "Just heard a "holy shit!" on the NASA TV feed. Everyone, please don't tell the FCC. NASA can't afford the fine."
Congrats to the entire team at JPL, and to the folks at NASA HQ for opening their doors to the public so we could enjoy the ride with you!