“Star Trek” fans get excited, because, Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star Wil Wheaton are lending a helping hand to NASA in anticipation of the upcoming Curiosity rover landing on Mars.
Both are narrating an educational video, in preparation for next week’s rover landing, called “Grand Entrance,” which details this particular event from entry through descent, and after landing.
“Shatner and Wheaton are mavericks in inspiring film, TV and social media audiences about space,” said Bert Ulrich, NASA’s multimedia liaison for film and TV collaborations. “NASA is thrilled to have them explain a difficult landing sequence in accessible terms that can be understood by many. Thanks to their generous support, Mars exploration will reach Tweeters, Trekkies and beyond!”
Curiosity successfully launched in November 2011, but the landing is a whole other story. It can be very difficult to land gracefully, as the rover “has seven minutes to go from 13,000 mph to a soft landing.” The mission has even received the name “seven minutes of terror.”
If, or when, it lands, Curiosity has a set of tools at the end of its extendable arm for collecting and studying rocks up close. It even has a drill to collect sample material from inside the rocks, along with a scoop for soil samples.
This isn’t the first time Shatner has worked side-by-side with NASA. In 2011, the legendary sci-fi star recorded an introduction as part of a special wake-up call for the Space shuttle Discovery’s crew on their last day at the International Space Station.
Both videos will be shown across the country, on the Internet and through social media. NASA hopes to reach the public, build awareness and educate everyone about Curiosity, before the landing on Monday, Aug. 6 at 1:31 a.m. EST.
Check out Shatner in action below, and to see Wheaton give his own unique narration jump here.