Curiosity Rover Roundup: “Voice” Of Curiosity’s Landing And NASA Engineer & Family Living On Mars Time

08.22.12 David Lumb

The European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter recorded Curiosity’s radio chatter during its descent to Mars and tweaked it until it could be audible to the human ear. Which makes it the closest you’ll come to screaming through the atmosphere and skycraning down to the surface. (Hint: it’s kind of like a Terminator’s dying scream.) In other news, aside from a busted wind sensor, Curiosity is totally GO for a test drive today. It successfully wiggled its wheel, one of the last of its pre-drive checks.

David Oh, NASA engineer and flight director of Curiosity, developed quite the summer project for the rover’s first summer on Mars: he and his family would live on Mars time. Mars, as NPR’s All Things Considered points out, has days 3% longer than Earths, so the Oh family adds about 40 minutes every day, sliding their schedule backward as the days go on; by the time they spoke to ATC at 10 a.m. yesterday, the family was getting ready for bed on Martian night time. Amazingly, David and his wife Bryn are still psyched about the experiment, noting that it brings the whole family, including kids ages 8, 10, and 13, together to share Curiosity’s adventure on Mars. The oldest, Braden, is keeping a blog, noting never-would-have-done-this moments like family bowling at 4 a.m. and his first shooting star. As school approaches, the kids will jump back to a normal schedule, but Oh will stay synced with Curiosity, waking with his 1-ton lonely counterpart 150 million miles away.