Long before John Grotzinger ’79, the mission leader and project scientist in charge of the Mars Science Laboratory knew whether the Curiosity would touch down safely, The National Geographic Channel had exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the mission. The footage they shot has been combined with remarkable animation that appeared in a special on August 9.
“Martian Mega Rover” the hour-long special about the Curiosity rover’s landing premiered on The National Geographic Channel (NGC). In promoting the show in an e-newsletter, National Geographic wrote, “After years of development and an eight month voyage through space, the latest Mars Rover touched down last night on the red planet. Now, with rare access inside NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, witness the dramatic story behind the Mars Science Laboratory, also known as the Curiosity rover, and the long struggle to get NASA’s most complex robot yet from the drawing board to the launch pad and safely to Mars.”
Select scenes from the special, including moments testing Curiosity’s parachute – and one failed test — are available online:
A companion e-book, “Mars Landing 2012: Inside NASA’s Curiosity Mission,” is also available online.