NASA to livestream Curiosity's big Mars landing

NASA has announced plans to livestream the full Curiosity rover landing, as the exploratory vehicle makes its innovative and difficult approach to the surface of Mars. Expected to kick off at 8:30pm PT on August 5, the landing will see Curiosity deploy a supersonic parachute to slow itself as it hurtles at 1,000 mph toward the Martian rock.

The first images from the surface of Mars are expected to be shared live, meanwhile, between 12:30am and 1am PT on August 6. That's assuming the rover lands successfully: NASA has been forced to automate the whole process, since the delay between signals leaving Earth and reaching the craft is around seven minutes.

In short, before even the first pictures of the descent start hitting the livestream, Curiosity will be on the ground: it'll just be a case of how many pieces it's in. If all goes to plan, it will use its nuclear battery to begin exploring the red planet.

NASA Curiosity lander overview:

The rocket carrying Curiosity has been en-route to Mars for several months now. In fact, it took off in November 2011, beginning a 354m mile journey from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The rover has cost around $2.5bn to develop, and will look for evidence of ancient habitable environments, among other things.

You'll be able to choose between two feeds on August 5, with the NASTA TV Media Channel and the NASAJPL2 Ustream having the uninterrupted footage with mission audio. A second version, on the NASA TV Public Channel and NASAJPL Ustream will add in commentary and interviews.