Saturday, January 03, 2004

It's Showtime...

The Mars lander Spirit is set for a landing on the Red Planet tonight. If all goes well. First, the lander must survive an entry into Mars' thin atmosphere. Then the drag parachute must successfully deploy. After that, a series of airbags will inflate to cushion the impact on the Martian surface. Finally, the lander must survive impact and the possibility of bouncing for up to half a mile along the rocky surface. If it makes it through this series of events it must still be able to deploy itself properly and set up to receive and transmit information. We should know no later than Sunday night whether it landed successfully or not.

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