Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

NASA’s Curiosity rover stars in its own movie trailer

by Patt Morrison

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A model of the Curiosity, NASA's most advanced mobile robotic laboratory, which will examine one of the most intriguing areas on Mars, is seen prior to a news briefing, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. NASA/Paul E. Alers

KPCC reporters have been talking to Southland scientists and engineers and counting down the days until NASA's most ambitious rover yet — Curiosity — prepares to land on the Martian surface. Follow the series online.

NASA is sending another rover to Mars, and this time they’re using what amounts to a mini-movie – a disaster film without the disaster. It’s called “Seven Minutes of Terror” and it’s set to dramatic music. The video debuted on YouTube on June 22 to surprising popularity. With deadpan drama, it maps the precise chain of events that needs to occur – correctly – for the Curiosity rover to enter Mars’ atmosphere, land on the Red Planet, and work.

The general public has embraced this drama; so far the video has garnered almost 600,000 hits. Under fifty percent of Earth’s missions to Mars have been successful – starting with one by the Soviet Union nearly 50 years ago -- but that didn’t stop President Barack Obama from setting the goal of a manned Mars mission by 2030. Patt talks to the director of the video, as well as one of the engineers responsible for Curiosity.


Have you seen the video? What do you think of it? Did it capture your attention?


John Beck, producer and director at Jet Propulsion Laboratories; directed “Seven Minutes of Terror” and composed the music

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