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May 23rd, 2008
11:41 AM ET

NASA braces for '7 minutes of terror' on Mars

An artist rendering of the landing of the Phoenix mars lander.

An artist rendering of the landing of the Phoenix mars lander.

Seven minutes...

After years of planning and nine months of space travel,
seven minutes is all it takes to make or break a Mars landing.

That's the amount of time it takes an orbiting spacecraft to hit the Martian atmosphere, brake, and hit the ground. Mission scientists call it "seven minutes of terror."

Read full story...


Filed under: Mars • NASA
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Jim Bearce

    I am another Jim bearce of LeRoy,New York, small world I see.
    Our space crafts are UFO to anyone not knowing what they are seeing.
    I have a Cd call UFO (7 Minutesmissing) on Amazon Music. Mar is a great place to explore.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  2. Jim Bearce

    This is a very good picture by the artist. If I lived on Mars, with the shape of the modual, I'd say it was a UFO, flying Sauser or a weather ballon.
    I am excited about the new mission.
    Jim Bearce

    March 18, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  3. eric

    I remember my first cat (catapult) shot out of the carrier deck. It was just as I had been trained and expected. Once airborne, gear up, stick back, and later, mission accomplished; I realized I would have to get back to the boat and make the trap. The training worked, caught the number three wire. Similarly, the NASA boys must be very sure their mission will be a success. They launched, now they have to land. Tally-ho Mars !!

    May 24, 2008 at 7:05 pm |
  4. flo, windsor,canada

    I wish that tomorrow will be a big success for science. It is hard to work for years and lose it in seven minutes – or less. I hope that this will be a step forward to understand where we are and how unique is planet Earth.

    May 24, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  5. Kent, Illinois

    How can they be having problems landing a spacecraft. They say because it is larger and has to land without airbags. Moon, Mars, what's the difference? Hmmmmmmmm isn't this something that they say they accomplished in 1968? Did we ever land men on the moon in 1968? I mean REALLLLLLLY?

    May 24, 2008 at 8:54 am |
  6. Bill

    This is interesting news! Please do more of these different topics. You guys are stuck on saving Hillary. Branching out is good for us all.

    May 24, 2008 at 12:12 am |
  7. Mahaley Bowles

    Hey another piece space litter, I'd be more impressed if it had a way to return for proper disposal.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:19 pm |
  8. robert

    hillary is a day late and a dollar short.obama will try to correct the mistakes of the military-industrial complex ,which president Eisenhower warned us of,back in the 50's.

    May 23, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  9. Penny

    Is this really going to lead to a global solution to our social and economic woes? I know where the money could be better spent.

    May 23, 2008 at 10:01 pm |
  10. Larry

    Well, if martians can come here, according to the ufo folk, then we should be returning the favor.

    May 23, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  11. Kent, Illinois

    No.........we are not alone. How can anyone believe we are the only planet with life. We aren't. I wish we all knew what our government actually knows........................

    May 23, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  12. Bob M

    I wish they wouldn't put all their eggs in one basket. Someone needs to design a cheap probe, mass produce it, and then fire them out en masse to a couple hundred different destinations. If 10% of them brought back photos of something neat, then we'd have some enthusiasm ( and maybe funding ) for more space exploration. I have Mars fatigue at this point and its pretty clear that there's nothing there except maybe some ancient xeno-bacteria on ice.

    May 23, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  13. Michelle

    This is going to be awesome. I am really looking
    forward to this.

    May 23, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
  14. Cindy

    This is cool! I hope that it is able to land and we get some incredible images from it.

    May 23, 2008 at 12:08 pm |