August 1, 2012 9:32 pm

Mars Rising

If you thought the transit of Venus across the Sun was a big deal, then strap yourself in because the August 5th landing of the NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, AKA the Curiosity rover, will be the main event.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover

Artist concept features NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On Friday I’ll post a listing of the coverage of the event, from Bill Nye and the Planetary Society’s Planetfest 2012 to NASA JPL to the Google+ Hangouts on Air with the SETI Institute, Fraser Cain, Dr. Pamela Gay, Phil Plait and more.

But for right now, I thought you might want to prepare for the event by revisiting a few of StarTalk Radio’s podcasts about Mars.

First, join Astrophysicist and show host Neil deGrasse Tyson on a “Tour of the Solar System” from Season 2. Neil and comic-co-host Chuck Nice interview Steve Squyres, the Principal Investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, who tells us what it was like to be living on “Mars time” and why he feels like he’s been on the Red Planet. Also in this episode: Bill Nye the Science Guy and planetary scientist Heidi Hammel.

Then jump ahead in time to this season and start “Packing for Mars” with NASA astronaut Mike Massimino and author Mary Roach.

In Packing for Mars Part 1, Neil and Chuck find out about the psychological concerns of the 2-3 year long mission, what kind of personality types are best suited for the mission, and the best food for long missions and colonization. (Hint: they squeak and love cheese!)

In Packing for Mars Part 2, Neil, Chuck, Mike and Mary discuss the more personal aspects of a manned mission, including going to the bathroom in zero gravity and how astronauts deal with sex.

And be sure to check back here on Friday for an updated list of event coverage.

Until then, enjoy the shows and Keep Looking Up!