Twitter Followers to See Launch of Mars Rover

NASA has invited 150 followers of the agency’s Twitter account to a two-day launch Tweetup on Nov. 23 and 25 at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Tweetup is expected to culminate in the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover aboard an Atlas V rocket from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The launch window is scheduled to open at 10:25 a.m. EST on Nov. 25. Curiosity’s arrival at Mars is anticipated in August 2012 near Gale Crater.

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During the nearly two-year prime mission, the rover will investigate whether a selected area of Mars offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life and preserved that evidence, if it existed.

Tweetup participants were selected from more than 1,050 people who registered online. They will share their Tweetup experiences with their followers through the social networking site Twitter.

Participants represent the United States, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

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Beginning at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, NASA will broadcast a portion of the Tweetup when attendees talk with Jim Green, Planetary Science division director, and Doug McCuistion, Mars Exploration program director, both at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., where the rover was designed and built will speak, as will mission scientists. To watch the broadcast, visit:

Participants also will tour Kennedy and Cape Canaveral, including a close-up visit to the launch pad. On launch day, they will speak with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden; Leland Melvin, NASA’s assistant administrator for education; astronaut Doug Wheelock and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Photo courtesy: NASA

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