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Coolest place to catch the Mars rover landing? Times Square

August 01, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • NASA's Mars rover landing will be broadcast in Manhattan's Times Square.
NASA's Mars rover landing will be broadcast in Manhattan's… (John Minchillo / Associated…)

We're used to seeing Times Square filled with party people, drunk and cheering on New Year's Eve as they vie to get their faces on TV before the ball drops at midnight.

But late Sunday evening, you can expect a different type of person to gather in this strange part of Manhattan -- space geeks. Because beginning at 11:30 p.m. EST Sunday, the Toshiba Vision Screen that drifts high above Times Square will display live coverage of the Mars rover Curiosity as it completes its eight-month journey and lands on the Red Planet.

It's almost enough to make us book a ticket to New York just to join in the fun. Of course, that's kind of ridiculous, because the programming that the Times Square science revelers will enjoy will be broadcast from Mission Control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. -- about 15 minutes from where we live.

But there is something so fun and festive about watching the rover descend in the middle of the night, with a group of fellow space geeks.

If you do intend to go, bring your smartphone and headphones. NASA will be broadcasting the audio portion of its coverage on the online radio station Third Rock Radio. It can be streamed on smartphones and tablets through the TuneIn mobile app.

Do not despair if you will not be anywhere near New York on Sunday and Monday; you can still join in the communal fun of the landing. NASA has created a map of event locations throughout the country.

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