If you're a regular reader of PC & Tech Authority, you probably have a keen interest in NASA's latest Mars landing which is scheduled to occur later today.
In just over an hour, the car-size NASA Curiosity rover will begin its descent onto the red planet's surface following eight months of interplanetary spaceflight -- and you can watch it all live from the NASA TV website.
From 1:30pm AEST, NASA will begin streaming its live coverage of this historic event, with the rover estimated to touch down on the planet's surface at around 5.31pm AEST.
"As the rover descends to the surface of Mars, it will send out two different types of data: basic radio-frequency tones that go directly to Earth and more complex UHF radio data that require relaying by orbiters," explains the NASA website.
"NASA's Odyssey orbiter will pick up the UHF signal and relay it immediately back to Earth, while NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will record the UHF data and play it back to Earth at a later time."
Artist's impression of Curiosity rover sending data back to Earth. [Image credit: NASA]
The 'crunch-time' will come during the initial entry into Mars' atompshere, at which point the Curiosity will be travelling at 21,000km/h.
If all goes according to plan, the Curiosity will spend the next two Earth years travelling across Mars' Gale Crater in an attempt to determine whether Martian environmental conditions have ever been favorable for microbial life.
The rover has been equipped with 12 engineering cameras -- eight Hazcams at the front and back of the rover, and four Navigation cameras (Navcams) at the top of the look-out mast. In addition to providing the rover with its "eyes", the cameras will also provide viewers at home with a three-dimensional snapshot of Mars' surface.
The first images are likely to arrive more than two hours after landing, due to the timing of NASA's signal-relaying Odyssey orbiter.