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Emily LakdawallaMay 23, 2008

Where to Watch Phoenix' Landing

EDIT: I had the wrong channel for NASA TV on DirecTV; the correct channel is 283.

There are a bazillion sources of information on what's up with Phoenix as its landing approaches on Sunday, so here's an attempt to round up some of your options.

First of all, if your less-space-enthusiastic-than-you friends or family express interest in watching the landing, the various news networks will of course have basic coverage, but the general public can do better than that, at least in the U.S. If they have access to DirecTV or a relatively enlightened cable provider, they may have access to NASA TV and not know it. It's channel 283 on DirecTV; check with your local cable provider to see if it's on your lineup.

And you can always watch NASA TV on the Web. Someone from Yahoo Inc. emailed me to tell me that the usual NASA TV link is a low-bitrate stream; a higher-bitrate stream is available here. He said it uses Windows Media, which can be a problem for non-Windows users, but recommended that Mac users try Flip4Mac and Linux users use mplayer.

If you don't have NASA TV, see if you have the Science Channel (one of the Discovery channels); they are doing a live broadcast, commentated by Jim Garvin, the head of NASA's Mars exploration program, from 7 pm to 9 pm EDT (4 to 6 pm PDT). That makes me chuckle, because Garvin runs at a mile a minute when he's not excited; they may need to slow down the audio by a factor of two to make him intelligible during a Mars landing.

If TV is not enough for you, well, you can always check this blog. :) I will be showing up at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Sunday just in time for the noon press briefing, and will stay here until the bitter end Sunday night. I plan to do a Ustream chat at 13:30 PDT (20:30 UTC). I may possibly do one later in the evening, but I don't know yet.

Other places to watch are:

Some other useful background resources include:Getting excited? I am. I am not planning on doing much tomorrow (Saturday), as I don't really expect there to be any news. Really, the only news we could possibly get tomorrow is bad news. So I'm going to sit out tomorrow's press briefing, spend a day at home with my family, and rest up for Sunday's drama.

Go Phoenix!

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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