Video: NASA scientist discusses Curiosity with Colbert

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The latest mission to Mars is set to touch down on the red planet early Monday morning.

With NASA’s Curiosity Rover set to touch down on the surface of Mars around 1:30 AM EST Monday morning, the space agency’s associate administrator for the science mission directorate, John Grunsfeld, appeared on The Colbert Report Wednesday, Aug. 1, to discuss the Curiosity Rover’s $2.5 billion mission.

Curiosity will travel at 13,200 miles per hour as it enters into the Martian atmosphere, and will break through the atmosphere in about seven minutes, Grunsfeld explained. The rover is outfitted with 10 instruments, including a chemistry set, designed to search for evidence of microbial life.

“It’s going to rove around for two years doing its wonderful scientific mission, looking at the rocks, drilling into it, analyzing the rocks to determine if there was ever life on Mars or organic material,” Grunsfeld said. “People on earth, the scientists on earth, are going to discover all kinds of incredible things. It’s going to be two years of amazing science.”

NASA will stream the Curiosity’s touchdown on its website, as well as broadcast the event on the big screens in Times Square in New York City.

"That's not science fiction — that's really going to happen on Monday," Colbert said

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