National Geographic Channel Special Offers Exclusive Animation Of Historic Mars Rover Landing


image The Television Special Martian Mega Rov er Follows NASA Engineers' Eight-Year Mission to Build, Launch and Land the Most Complicated Rover to Date

At 1:24 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, August 6, 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory, a.k.a. the Curiosity rover, is scheduled to hit the top of the Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph. Seven minutes later, the world will know whether it landed safely or punched a new crater in the surface of Mars. Built to last years and do things on Mars that have never been done before, Curiosity has been hyped as rocket science on steroids. The $2.5 billion mega rover boasts a nuclear power supply, is equipped with a full laboratory that can test samples for organic building blocks of life and can trek across miles of rugged terrain while beaming back to Earth images in high-definition 3-D.

The National Geographic Channel (NGC) will premiere Martian Mega Rover on Thursday, August 9, at 10 p.m. E/PT, just three days after the historic touchdown is expected. The hour-long special includes incredible animation that breaks down each phase of the landing like a scene out of a blockbuster sci-fi movie. Created by Dan Maas, the acclaimed animator who did the IMAX "Roving Mars" and NGC's Emmy winner Five Years on Mars, vivid photorealistic CGI simulates Curiosity's entry into the atmosphere as a massive parachute deploys, rocket thrusters fire up and a sky crane safely lowers the rover to the ground.

Select animation scenes are available:

Parachute Problems: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/national-geographic-channel/all-videos/ngc-parachute-problem/

The Sky Crane: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/national-geographic-channel/all-videos/ngc-the-sky-crane/

With in-depth, behind-the-scenes access to the elaborate project, Martian Mega Rover also capturesthe gripping human drama behind every stage of this mission.

A companion e-book, "Mars Landing 2012: Inside NASA's Curiosity Mission," is also available at http://www.facebook.com/NatGeoBooks/app_275204492564378

For more information, please visit http://www.ngcpr.com/.

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