There are few celebrity personalities out there that we could name to be a more ideal fit to voice a NASA video which details the plan to bring the agency's 'Curiosity' rover down to a safe landing on Mars next week.
That's because in the voice-over and presenting booth is none other than Star Trek legend and all-round good guy William Shatner, lending his distinctively soothing yet authoritative tones to a video dedicated to unfurl the story about how NASA's latest Mars rover will set to go from 13,000Mph to a 'soft landing' in a space of just seven minutes – the so-called “Seven Minutes of Terror”. Set to enter the atmosphere of the Red Planet at about 1.17am EDT on 6th August (8 months and 350 million miles from launch), as Shatner explains way better than we ever could hope of doing, Curiosity will enter a sequence of steps – including parachute deployment and the separation of the heat shield – to descend to a height around a mile above the surface,before being lowered by 'sky crane' to touch down safely on the dusty Martian plains.
Following on from the hugely popular 'Seven Minutes of Terror', Shatner's own Curiosity video is actually a double-header with another effort by former Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory star Will Wheaton. Whichever you prefer, fever pitch for Curiosity – NASA's £2.5 billion research craft – is reaching an all-time high. As NASA's multimedia liaison for film and TV collaborations Bert Ulrich enthuses, “Shatner and Wheaton are mavericks in inspiring film, TV and social media audiences about space. 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!”