They timed the MSL landing to correspond with the south-to-north pass of MRO, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the north-to-south pass of the Mars Odyssey orbiter, so we had LIVE coverage of the whole event
If IIRC, it would be more correct to say that they adjusted the orbits of MRO and Odyssey over the past several weeks to achieve that correspondence. Is that not correct?
From: backbayastro@... [mailto:backbayastro@...] On Behalf Of George Reynolds
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 2:26 PM
To: group backbayastro; Chisrtrian Astronomers Group; Astonomy_Online Group
Cc: Kay Ferrari; Linda Morabito
Subject: [backbayastro] MSL Landing on Mars last night (or early this morning, 8/6/2012, depending on your location)
I was wrong! Lawrence "Bird" Taylor
corrected my erroneous assumption last night about the scheduled landing time. The actual landing on Mars was to be at 0117 EDT (plus or minus 1 minute), but NASA added the 14-minute delay into the schedule, so 0131 was when we were to get the actual signal. It was a masterful stroke of genius on the part of the rocket scientists at NASA. They timed the MSL landing to correspond with the south-to-north pass of MRO, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the north-to-south pass of the Mars Odyssey orbiter, so we had LIVE coverage of the whole event, with little or no "dead" time for nail-biting. Odyssey even snapped a picture of MSL attached to its supersonic parachute. You can see it on the NASA Web site. http://www.nasa.gov/
And a big thanks goes to DSN, the Deep Space Network, whose big communications dishes at Canberra, Australia (especially) enabled us to get the signals quickly.
"Solar System Ambassador" for South Hampton Roads, Virginia