Mars Landing Party Tonight – Wanna join?

Postion of NASA’s Mars spacecratft on Thursday morning (CET)

Today, Thursday, 18th February 2021, another spacecraft with a rover arrives at Mars and will attempt a spectacular landing with parachutes, retro-rockets, and a sky-crane. The press folks at NASA like to call it the 7 minutes of terror. As a space-geek I am very much looking forward to the event. Have a look here for the current position and flight data of the spacecraft as it approaches Mars. This real-time simulation of objects in the solar system allows you to look around in all directions from the spacecraft to see what you would see if you were actually there.

I will certainly watch the live commentary of the descent and landing on NASA’s TV channel and will run the 3D Mars landing simulation in real-time while it happens. Well, actually with a delay 11 minutes. And then I thought: Wouldn’t it be nice to talk and chat about this with other space buffs reading this blog before, during, and after the event? Yes, I know, there’s Twitter and other places to go to, but it’s too slow, the crowd is too big for voices to be heard, and too impersonal. So I decided to open up a Jitsi session OVER HERE for anyone who wants to join and chat about the landing. I will be there from around 8 pm CET (Central European Time) this evening! Wanna join?

4 thoughts on “Mars Landing Party Tonight – Wanna join?”

  1. It was a pleasure! Oh, and most importantly, it didn’t crash (neither the rover nor the Jitsi session).

  2. Well, nice to β€œmeet” you, however briefly. Great to see the rover landing OK, too.

    Bit of a disappointment with the Jitsi session, though. My laptop/Firefox combination is never very good at video for reasons I don’t understand. It’ll do YouTube 480p fine but 720p starts to stutter a bit after a few minutes whereas watching YouTube with mpv (through its youtube-dl plugin) at 720p works fine so it’s not a hardware (couple of years old Toshiba/Intel laptop) or operating system (Ubuntu 20.04) problem.

    Jitsi combined with switching on and off two YouTube livestreams did for it: 100% CPU on both cores and everything too laggy to even close things cleanly so in the end I just killed Firefox, and started again just watching the NASA clean feed.

    Hope you all had a more communicative time,


    1. Oh yes, video conferences are the new benchmark for older notebooks. That’s why I had three (older) notebooks running here so I could run the EDL simulation, watch 2 Youtube streams and have a Jitsi session open all at the same time. Indeed, it was nice meeting you in (virtual) person!

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