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NASA To Announce Landing Site For New Mars Rover

July 19, 2011

NASA and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will host a news conference at 10 a.m. EDT, Friday, July 22 to announce the selected landing site for the agency’s latest Mars rover. The event will be in the museum’s Moving Beyond Earth Gallery. NASA Television and the agency’s Web site will provide live coverage of the event.

Participating in the news conference:

– John Grant, geologist, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum National, Washington

– Michael Meyer, Mars Exploration Program lead scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington

– John Grotzinger, MSL project scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.

– Dawn Sumner, geologist, UC Davis, Calif.

– Michael Watkins, MSL project engineer, JPL

To participate, reporters must contact Isabel Lara at larai@si.edu by 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 21.

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), or Curiosity, will land on the surface of Mars in August 2012. Curiosity is being assembled and readied for a November launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Curiosity is about twice as long and more than five times as heavy as any previous Mars rover. The rover will study whether the landing region had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and for preserving clues about whether life existed.

July 22 is Mars Day at the museum. The annual event marks the July 1976 landing of Viking 1, the first spacecraft to operate on Mars. The day will feature displays, family activities and presentations by scientists from the museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, the Museum of Natural History and NASA. Visitors will learn about the latest Mars research, missions and see a life-size model of Curiosity.

For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv




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