Cape Canaveral: NASA might not be able to continue getting real-time coverage of the descent of Mars rover 'Curiosity' into Gale Crater as the satellite that was supposed to track the task went out of orbit due to a manoeuvring system glitch last month.
Engineers were able to recover the satellite, but it has shifted to a different orbit, because of which NASA may lose the signals to rover just as it is about to land on the red planet.
Curiosity is scheduled to land at 1:31 a.m. EDT (0531 GMT) on August 6 inside an 96-mile (155-km) wide impact basin.
The other two spacecrafts orbiting Mars will also be monitoring the rover's arrival, but one records data for later playback and the other won't be aligned to see the last minute of flight, informed NASA's Mars exploration program chief Doug McCuistion.
The Mars mission, designed to last two years, aims to assess whether Gale Crater had all the ingredients at the right time and in the right places for microbial life to arise and be preserved.
First Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 10:43