As you digest hot dogs or tend to one of your geektastic Memorial Day grilling machines today, take a moment to consider NASA's Phoenix Lander, which is scheduled to touch down on Mars this evening. At about 8 p.m. EST, the multimillion dollar lander will enter the Red Planet's atmosphere and experience what CNN is calling "seven minutes of terror" (worry not, I checked the story and it has nothing to do with the Lander being in a closet with Paris Hilton). Then, during a manoeuvre that puts any earthbound supercar's brakes to shame, Phoenix will slow itself from approximately 21,000 kilometres per hour to about eight in the space of six to seven minutes. Want to follow the probe's wild ride? There are a few sites covering the evening event live listed after the jump.
Tom's Astronomy Blog has assembled a list of Mars Lander links today:
CNN with Miles O'Brien streams the landing live later tonight.
NASA TV has web and TV coverage
Telescope coverage will be provided by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Green Bank Telescope
You should be aware that NASA has the odds stacked against it when it comes to off world remote control landings. To date, only five of thirteen landing attempts have been successful. NASA notes there will be a 15-minute delay between the landing and a confirmation, due to distance, so... *finger crossed* [Tom's Astronomy Blog]