The massive, nuclear powered Mars Science Lander is due to land Curiosity on the Martian surface on August 5. In the intervening months since MSL’s November 2011 launch, NASA engineers have had ample time to ponder in just how many ways things can go wrong. Already, changes have been made to Curiority’s landing parameters. In a new NASA video, engineers focus on the landing mechanism itself including the novel Sky Crane slated to lower the lab gently to the surface. Below, these engineers anticipate those “seven minutes of terror” while MSL lands and they can do nothing but wait for word of its survival.

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