Not long now and the new Mars science lab will hopefully be deposited on Mars. This will happen on August 5 but there is something else happening on the same day. Only a few hours before the Mars science lab spacecraft reaches the red planet Mars will form a “Martian triangle” With Saturn and Spica . Spica is a blue giant star in the constellation of Virgo.
Look west after sunset, on August 5, just about where the setting sun has disappeared and as soon as the sky fades to black a triangle of lights will appear. The triangle is quite tight and therefore quite eye-catching. They appear with the same intensity even though they are very different in nature.
Just after this curiosity’s entry capsule will hit the atmosphere of Mars, creating temperatures of about 2100°C. Then curiosity will slow from 13,000 mph to 1.7 mph using 76 pyrotechnic devices. Some ropes and knives, and the biggest parachute ever built. At the end of the descent a sky crane will lower the rover onto the floor of Mars.
Will curiosity survive this event? NASA specialises in these sorts of missions but things do go wrong sometimes. I would bet on it surviving and landing, but then I want to see the next part of the mission especially. It will spend the next two years looking for microscopic life with an array of sensors.