The September issue of The Monthly has arrived from the printers, with my piece on the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity and the landing party at Canberra Deep Space Network Tracking Station (Tidbinbilla).

It should now be available in print and online

Martin Ollman’s terrific photo of us space tweeps in the rain by the ‘big dish’ at Canberra DSN is on the inside front cover. This is his photo of his photo.

Landing on the Red Planet

Very much looking forward to August 6, when, all going well, the Mars Science Lab (MSL) ‘Curiosity’ will land on Mars!

Canberra Deep Space Network (CDSN) Tidbinbilla will be at the forefront on the day as it will receive the first signals from the Mars Rover and hopefully we will know that all is well. Canberra DSN is holding an all day Mars Rover Landing Party and I will be there, catching up with the space tweeps from the original launch tweetup in November 2011.

CDSCC: Mars Landing Party – Monday, 6 August 2012 – 3:31pm AEST Mars Science Laboratory – Entry, Descent and Landing

On Monday, 6 August, at 3:31pm, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is set to receive signals from NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover ‘Curiosity’ as it lands on the surface of the red planet.

You are invited to join us for this historic event and enjoy with other fellow space enthusiasts, the excitement and drama as the spacecraft carrying the rover enters and descends through the Martian atmosphere, and then safely lands ‘Curiosity’. We might even see the first photos from the surface!”

Mars Rover Launch only a few days away

Just over a week until I attend the first ever CSIRO Tweetup as part of NASA’s launch of the Mars Curiosity Rover. This is going to be so fascinating.

From the CSIRO website: “The CSIRO Tweetup will provide @CSIROnews and @CanberraDSN followers with the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at CDSCC and speak with scientists and researchers. This CSIRO Tweetup will run for 24-hours and will include a “meet and greet” session to allow participants to mingle with fellow Tweeps and the people behind CSIRO’s and CDSCC’s Twitter feeds. Participants will get a special tour of CDSCC, hear from guest speakers, watch the launch and tracking activities, enjoy a telescope night-sky viewing (clouds permitting), and a tour of CSIRO Discovery Centre, plus more.”

Access to this site is normally restricted so this is a wonderful opportunity. I will definitely be writing something about this experience and will let you know where to find the piece when I do, so please check back!