Wil Less Than Threes Curiosity, the Mars Lander

Hey, did you know that Wil Wheaton narrated a NASA video about the Mars lander that will (hopefully) set down on that planet’s surface less than a day from now? If not, now you do — and here it is.

Here’s a link to the video and other goodies on the NASA site.

25 Comments on “Wil Less Than Threes Curiosity, the Mars Lander”

  1. Well, that was pretty cool.

    I knew Curiosity’s landing system was more complicated than the beach balls, but I didn’t realize it was that complicated. No wonder the team is terrified.

    WHAT THE HELL SHIRT IS WIL WEARING??? He looks like a dentist.

  2. NASA’s page also has the identical video being narrated from the same script by William Shatner. I like Wheaton’s presentation better, but that’s just me.

  3. For those who haven’t been following this, the landing time is 1:31 AM Aug. 6th EDT or 10:31 PDT Aug. 5th. (By the way that is the signal received time not the actual time.) NASA will be televising this. For those who do not have the NASA public channel in their satellite or cable package, NASA will also be providing live web streaming video. That URL is


    The schedule of televised events is here:


    Sunday, Aug. 5
    — 9:30 a.m. – Final Prelanding Update News Briefing
    — 3 p.m. – NASA Science News Briefing
    — 8:30 p.m. to about 11 p.m. – Landing Commentary No. 1
    — No earlier than 11:15 p.m. – Post-landing News Briefing

    The above times are PDT. There may or not be images available shortly after landing. If there are images, those first ones will be low resolution thumbnail images.


  4. If the Martians manage to shoot _this_ one down too, I’ll be very, very upset. I’m also annoyed about the ones they redirect away from the canals and civilization to land in empty deserts.

  5. The problem with Wil is he speaks with zero gravitas. He doesn’t sound like a scientist or even an adult Wesley Crusher; he talks like some 20-year old college geek-wannabe.

  6. Doc – Seconded on the complexity of the landing process. A rocket powered hover crane for controlled lowering that flies away when it’s done? Mad crazy boffo imagineering.

    “Okay guys, we need to get this car from the entry vehicle onto the surface of Mars.” “…crane.” “Okay, it’s Mars, not Boston. There’s no existing infrastructure for that.” “I SAID ROCKET POWERED HOVER CRANE.”

  7. Scorpius is right. Wheaton has had twenty years to work on his craft. Expect better…

  8. “Rocket Powered Hover Crane” is the name of my next band.

    Also, those who are dissing Wil Wheaton’s acting chops must not have seen his appearance on “Criminal Minds”.

  9. I’m with Lila. Wil made a very convincing psycho killer. He even beat a guy up. But then he got run over by a truck, so….

  10. Without my reading glasses I read this as ‘Wil Wheaton married a NASA video’.

  11. The link is currently unavailable from here; it must have been Boinged, but you can still go directly to the NASA site and see it. For those who feel Wil’s delivery lacks… something, you can have an alternative in William Shatner’s narration. Identical content, just TOS vs. TNG. As much fun as it would have been to have Dr. Tyson narrate, I suspect he has a full schedule.

  12. I think the accompanying video about curiosity’s phoning home on the NASA site just as interesting. 7 minutes of terror may be followed by 3 days of not knowing the result of those 7 minutes. Let’s hope we get lucky and the sattelite picks up the signal. GL to all the NASA team.

  13. @Scorpius – I think he speaks with genuine enthusiasm and interest. Not everything needs to be narrated in solemn tones like an IMAX documentary. Just watched the Curiosity’s landing live on NASA’s website so I’m feeling the enthusiasm myself.

  14. Annnd down intact, with pictures.

    Still need verification the suspension is 100%, precise location, and see if the orbiter caught the landing in its cameras. But a very good start…

  15. This latest adds to an impressive number of successes for the team(s) at JPL. Excellent work all around!
    Odds on whether the engineering team is allowed some respite from cameras etc. BEFORE all the bars close for the night? Wish ’em luck…

  16. Scorpius: I’m a scientist. I happen to be a planetary scientist. Wil Wheaton sounds a whole lot like the real scientists landing their craft on Mars. What he doesn’t sound like is a Hollywood scientist (which is kind of funny).

    Real scientists tend to love and get excited about their work so much that they sound like 20-year-old geeks.

  17. I SLEPT THROUGH ROCKET POWERED HOVER CRANE! ::falls on knees, rents clothes:: I AM NOT WORTHY! ::Stands up and walks out, sobbing, for a bit of cry and, oh, maybe some hamburgers::

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