Why is there a Mars rock in front of City Hall?

SciGuy
A science blog with Eric Berger

Something strange has turned up in downtown Houston. It’s a large red rock and it’s standing in front of City Hall. It looks something like this:

Naturally I was curious as to what this might be, so went closer. And again I exercised my immense photography skills to capture the following picture:

What’s this? GetCurious.com?

You’ll be shocked to find out, I’m sure, that this Mars rock isn’t really a rock, and it isn’t really from Mars. But it’s part of a clever campaign by Explore Mars to raise public awareness about the upcoming landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars.

Houston is one of eight cities across the nation to get a 1,000-pound “rock.”

This is happening because we’re now about 10 days and some change away from the actual landing of the newest, largest and baddest-to-the-bone Mars rover yet. And as I recently wrote, there’s a lot on the line. Not only will Curiosity do some really cool science, there’s really nothing in the pipeline behind it.

So if the rover’s terrifying seven-minute descent to the Martian surface goes awry, our Mars science program will be seriously set back for awhile.

And if you’re curious about Curiosity’s descent? It’s supposed to happen around 12:30 a.m. CT on Monday, August 6. And Space Center Houston is having a party if you want to watch with other space geeks.

The above blog was published in the SciGuy blog of Eric Berger on blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/07/ on July 25, 2012. Posted by Eric Berger on July 26, 2012 at 10:42 am

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