The Mars rover Curiosity is on course to land in East Meadow Monday night.
First, it has a date with Mars early Monday morning.
The East Meadow Public Library MSL Landing Event will be held Monday evening at 7 p.m. The library is located at 1886 Front St. For more information on the event, contact Judith Schanzer at 516-794-2570 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Long Islanders can also catch the event at the Times Square Toshiba Vision Screen located beneath the New Year's Eve Ball. The show begins at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday with touchdown expected at around 1:30 a.m.
Curiosity, also know as the Mars Science Laboratory, has a pretty exciting time ahead of it. It's detailed in NASA's aptly named video called "7 Minutes of Terror."
The complex spacecraft encapsulating the rover must deal with the 16,000 degrees of heat generated by entering the planet's atmosphere at 13,000 mph. A parachute will slow it down.
It will all happen in seven minutes - on autopilot.
Because of the time delay caused by Mars' current distance of more than 150 million miles, scientists and viewers around the world won't know if the landing has been a success or failure for another seven minutes.
Talk about a nail-biter.
The real work doesn't begin until Curiosity is on the ground. The rover, which is the size of a SUV, will search for signs of microscopic life in the Martian soil. And if the most optimistic hopes for the mission come true, this machine could finally answer one of the greatest questions ever asked.
Are we alone?