When NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission lands on the red planet, communication antennas in Canberra, Australia will be listening

CDSCC: Mars Landing Party - Monday, 6 August 2012 - 3:31pm AEST
Mars Science Laboratory - Entry, Descent and Landing

On Monday, 6 August, at 3:31pm, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is set to receive signals from NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover 'Curiosity' as it lands on the surface of the red planet.

You are invited to join us for this historic event and enjoy with other fellow space enthusiasts, the excitement and drama as the spacecraft carrying the rover enters and descends through the Martian atmosphere, and then safely lands 'Curiosity'. We might even see the first photos from the surface!

You are invited to our Mars Landing Party
Landing a spacecraft on Mars is not something that happens every day. Lots of people have told us that they'd like to be at the Canberra complex to watch events unfold and to be here for the landing. We are as excited as you to be a part of this historic event and want to share the drama with you. That's why we're holding a party - a Mars Landing Party!

We are not taking bookings for this event. Attendance is on a first-come, best-seats basis
Our Visitor Centre will be open through its normal operating hours; 9am to 5pm
The event is free of charge and there is no admission fee
The Moon Rock Café will be open all day for meals and refreshments (standard menu costs).

Program and Activities
The program we are planning (see at right) will all lead up to the 'live' TV coverage from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the 'entry, descent and landing' (EDL) of the Mars Science Laboratory 'Curiosity' rover.

Join us for a day of Mars and space-related events and activities, including:
Regular mission updates, expert commentary and presentations
Live coverage from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA TV)
Mars/MSL information packs^
MSL exhibition and Mars gallery
Mars 'trivia' and 'show & tell' competitions

OH! And there's a big robot landing on Mars as well...

About the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
Managed by the CSIRO, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) is one of three tracking stations in NASA's Deep Space Network. Separated by approximately 120 degrees around the world, the stations in Canberra, Australia, Madrid, Spain and Goldstone, California, provide two-way radio contact with dozens of spacecraft across the Solar System and beyond.

All electronic equipment capable of transmitting eg: mobile phones, wifi enabled laptops, iPads etc.
...All MUST BE TURNED OFF or IN AIRPORT/FLIGHT MODE during your time at the Complex.
Some restricted internet access may be provided in the Visitor Centre using in-house computers.

About the Mars Science Laboratory mission
MSL Website | MSL Fact Sheet (pdf) | MSL mission trailer (Youtube)
About the MIssion | Instruments | MSL Gallery

For further information on the Mars Landing Party, please contact:
Glen Nagle - Education and Outreach Manager; via email or phone: 02 6201 7838 (bh)


Mars Landing Party
You are invited to join us as NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover prepares to land on the surface of the red planet.

What's Happening?
This is a free event, open to everyone. Come and enjoy a day filled with films, talks, exhibits, games...and of course, there's a big robot landing on Mars!!

There's no need to book. The event is on a first-come, best-seats basis.

Mars Trivia / Show & Tell
We'll test your knowledge of Mars in a Trivia contest. Spacey prizes to be won!
Plus, bring along your favourite Mars- or space-themed items/memorabilia for a fun 'Show & Tell' session.

Need more information? Help is available by sending an email to pr@cdscc.nasa.gov.

Current Schedule*
Monday 6 August 2012
09:00 Visitor Centre opens
09:20 Antennas start tracking
10:40 Antennas lock on to signals
10:45 EDL update - CDSCC role
11:00 MSL film program
11:30 Trivia/Show&Tell
12:30 Lunch
13:30 NASA TV Coverage Starts
14:00 MSL EDL update
14:30 NASA TV continues
15:31 MSL expected landing
16:30 Scheduled Media Conference
17:00 Visitor Centre closes #
17:30 # Possible extension
18:00 # Possible extension

* Program may change - check for updates
# Depending on real-time events
^ While stocks last

Webmaster: Glen Nagle
Public Relations Office: Glen Nagle / Leanne George