Mike Isaac

Recent Posts by Mike Isaac

Bull’s-Eye! Curiosity, NASA’s $2.5 Billion Rover, Has Landed on Mars.

After many years of work and billions of dollars, at 10:32 pm PT, NASA space rover Curiosity successfully landed on Mars.

The nerve-wracking landing — which was entirely automated, due to the time delay it takes for transmissions to pass between the two planets — came after seven frightening minutes of not knowing whether the craft had landed safely. In the craft’s descent, the rover needed to brake from a speed greater than 13,000 mph, all the way to a rest on the planet’s surface.

Here’s the first high-resolution image of Mars’s face as seen from Curiosity’s camera:

Expect to see a plethora of images and data flow in over the coming months, but know this: Curiosity’s progress will be slow and steady. It’ll be a week before all of its attached devices — cameras, rock-melting lasers (seriously), weather sensors and drilling turret — will be extended from its body. Then, over the next few months, we will witness a series of firsts: First drive, first panoramic views, first samplings of Martian rock and soil.

For now, there’s no shortage of ways to watch Curiosity’s progress going forward. For a play-by-play straight from the control room, there’s NASA’s live feed. Aside from a few of the issues I’ve had with accessing the site under the heavy traffic load, the video quality is fantastic.


Also available is Space News’s livestream here, just in case NASA’s goes down.

The Exploratorium in San Francisco is hosting its own live feed, complete with scientists weighing in on what’s actually happening.

For an annotated take, check out Boing Boing’s Twitter stream, as Xeni Jardin live-tweets the entire thing from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. There’s also an uber-nerdy Universe Today Google+ Hangout going down right now, packed with scientists and dudes with glasses excitedly explaining what’s going on. I’m having fun just thinking about that one.

Jardin also got some killer photos of Curiosity before it was sent into space — check those shots out here, while you’re at it.

Or if you want to hear about Curiosity’s status direct from the source, it will be live-tweeting its own descent into Mars’s atmosphere. Alternatively, you could read through our own Ina Fried’s snarkfest over Twitter (storified here for your pleasure). I prefer the latter.

Tune in — however you wish — to see a bunch of nerds celebrating, and the latest string of pictures flood in. Or just watch the embedded video below:

Watch live streaming video from spaceflightnow at livestream.com

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald