Shatner vs. Wheaton: Star Trek Stars Narrate Mars Rover’s 7 Minutes of Terror

By Adam Mann, Wired ScienceJuly 30, 2012 at 06:06PM


In two new NASA videos, actors William Shatner and Wil Wheaton each submit their entry for hammiest narration of the Mars Science Laboratory’s entry, descent, and landing sequence on the Red Planet. But which Will wins?

MSL, NASA latest rover, is set to touch down on the Martian surface on Aug. 5 at around 10 p.m. Pacific. The one-ton nuclear powered rover will search for signs of habitability on Mars, past or present, and provide important insight into the planet’s geology.

Getting the car-sized rover – the largest thing that NASA can currently land on Mars — down to the ground requires a Rube Goldberg-like sequence of parachutes, rocket thrusters, and, in the end, a gently lowering sky crane. This progression, known as the “Seven Minutes of Terror,” will need to happen with perfect timing and without the aid of NASA engineers, who will unable to intervene should something go wrong due to the time delay between Earth and Mars.

So who does a better job at conveying the excitement and danger of this landing: the Original Series captain (above) or the Next Generation wunderkind (below)? Vote for your favorite in the poll below. Even if you might not agree on which is the superior performance, nerds everywhere can be happy to see their icons teaming up with our real-life space program.


Videos: NASA