Pasadena, California (CNN) - An hour before the Mars rover Curiosity is scheduled to make its dramatic touchdown on the surface of our neighboring planet, there must be peanuts.
David Oh, lead flight director for the mission, explains that it has been a tradition for decades to open up cans of peanuts and pass them around to the team at NASAâ€™s Jet Propulsion Laboratory responsible for overseeing the landing of the rover. Curiosity is scheduled to land at 1:31 a.m. ET Monday.
â€œItâ€™s always been a lucky charm for us, and missions have always seemed to work out better when we had the peanuts there,â€ Oh said. â€œFor landing this, Iâ€™ll take all the great engineering we have, and all the luck you can give us, too.â€
Given how complicated and intricate this landing will be, itâ€™s no surprise that scientists are taking extra precautions, even superstitious ones.
NASA has launched a tool called Eyes on the Solar System that lets you visualize Mars and its surroundings using the latest data. Thereâ€™s even a mode where you can see the landing process. The popular NASA video â€œCuriosity's Seven Minutes of Terrorâ€ also illustrates just how extraordinary this landing is going to be.
Although "it looks a little bit crazy," Adam Steltzner, lead engineer overseeing how the rover is arriving, said, "I promise you it is the least crazy of the methods you could use to get a rover the size of Curiosity on Mars."
There is a lot to be excited about for Curiosity on Mars. But first it has to get there. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is buzzing with scientists and journalists eager to see it happen.
full story: http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/02/mars-landing-it-could- etc ...