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US rover landing on Mars to be live broadcast

Updated: 2012-08-01 14:23
( Xinhua)

WASHINGTON - US space agency NASA on Tuesday confirmed its most advanced planetary rover, Curiosity will land on the Martian surface at 1:31 am EDT (0531 GMT) on Aug 6 and the landing process will be broadcast live from Times Square, New York City.

Programming will originate from Mission Control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's in California, but there will be lag as it takes 14 minutes for radio signals on Mars to travel to Earth, warned NASA.

The six-wheeled rover, weighing about one ton, dwarfs all previous robots sent to the surface of the Mars. It is about twice as long and more than five times as heavy as any previous Mars rover. It has been equipped with 10 science instruments, including two for ingesting and analyzing samples of powdered rock delivered by the rover's robotic arm.

The rover is on a precise course for a landing beside a Martian mountain to begin two years of unprecedented scientific detective work, according to NASA.

During a prime mission lasting one Martian year - nearly two Earth years - researchers will use the rover's tools to study whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.