Michael Finneran
(757) 344-4611
NASA News Conference Previews August Mars Rover Landing
Hampton, Va. -- Media are invited to attend a news conference Monday, July 16, at NASA's Langley Research Center to discuss Langley's role in the August landing of the most advanced robot ever sent to another planet, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).

From 1 to 2 p.m., the MSL national-level news conference from Washington, D.C., will be broadcast live on NASA TV into the Langley news room. Media in attendance will be able to view the conference and ask questions of representatives from NASA's Mars Exploration Program, the California Institute of Technology and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

From 2 to 3 p.m., Langley's Center Deputy Director Steve Jurczyk, along with five key members in the MSL mission, will present information about the research center's role, answer questions and be available for interviews.

Langley has an important role in the entry, descent and landing phase of the mission, the so-called "seven minutes of terror," as the spacecraft blasts through the Mars atmosphere toward the surface.

Langley personnel also developed a set of sensors embedded in the MSL's heat shield that will measure temperatures and pressures during descent. Known as the MSL Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation, or MEDLI, the measurements will be the first of their kind taken by a spacecraft as it descends through another planet's atmosphere.

NASA Langley has a long history addressing the challenges of going to Mars. The center led humankind's very first journey to the red planet with two spacecraft, Viking 1 and Viking 2, which arrived at Mars in July and September of 1976.

MSL will deliver a robotic rover called Curiosity to Mars at approximately 1:31 a.m. EDT on Aug. 6. The car-sized rover, carrying laboratory instruments to analyze samples of rocks, soil and atmosphere, will investigate whether Mars has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

News media planning to attend the NASA Langley conference must contact Michael Finneran no later than 10 a.m. July 16 at (757) 344-4611, or via email at

Media representatives who cannot attend the Langley conference can still participate in the 1 p.m. Headquarters news conference by telephone, but must contact Steve Cole at 202-358-0918 or by 10 a.m. July 16.


For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and downlink information, visit

To view a Jet Propulsion Laboratory live stream with a moderated chat, visit:

For more information about the mission and to view or submit events surrounding the landing, visit

The public can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at: (@MarsCuriosity)

For more information about NASA's Langley Research Center go to

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