Cleveland's connected to Mars mission

CLEVELAND - The excitement is certainly growing as we near closer to landing on Mars. Aug. 6 at around 1:30 a.m. is when NASA plans to land the Curiosity rover on the red planet, but not to many people know much about the history-making project, which is why NASA partnered with social media Friday. 

The tweet-up social drew people in of all ages and backgrounds.

"I've been a big space fan since my parents showed me 'Apollo 13' when I was, I think, 12 years old. They showed me the movie, 'Apollo 13' and I thought, 'Now this is cool," said Kelley April, who works in health care.

April was one of about 30 people who got to tour NASA's Glenn Research Center, meet with experts and even talk to scientists at seven different centers across the nation live, while posting what they were watching and learning online.

"It's really exciting because it connects you to other people and you know, in my day-to-day life, there's not a whole lot of people really excited about NASA's doing. They kind of just see it as a budget drain," said Kat Robinson, a Pittsburgh grad student.

Part of the experience was, of course, learning about the Mars trip and that's where scientist Dr. Geoff Landis comes in.

"The hardest part of the whole flight is getting into the atmosphere and landing ... We have to go from 13,000 mph hour to a dead stop in seven minutes," said Landis.

Landis said he worked with a team to help develop the parachute technology that will help Curiosity land on Mars.

Landis and the Glenn Research Center will also be hosting a special landing countdown on Aug. 5. The event will be held at Wade Oval in University Circle from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

You can expect a family-fun afternoon, chock-full of education all about NASA's Curiosity rover. Retired U.S. Air Force Col. and NASA astronaut Gregory H. "Box" Johnson will also be on-hand signing autographs.

The location may change if there's inclement weather.

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