Kirk and Crusher team up on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover is scheduled to land on the surface of Mars at 1:31 AM EDT on August 6.

The space agency has kicked off a massive campaign to generate public interest in the mission, tweeting updates and posting a number of videos outlining Curiosity’s journey to Mars, with some of them depicting its planned descent through the red planet’s turbulent atmosphere.

The two most recent videos uploaded by NASA feature William Shatner (aka Captain Kirk) and Wil Wheaton (aka Wesley Crusher) from Star Trek.

“Shatner and Wheaton are mavericks in inspiring film, TV and social media audiences about space,” said NASA rep Bert Ulrich.

“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!”

You’ll undoubtedly notice right away that both actors are reading from the same cue cards and script. I certainly like the Shatner video better, and found it quite interesting that despite having the same exact content Shatner’s video is several seconds longer than Wheaton’s.

The extra time is presumably taken up by Shatner’s well-known dramatic pauses. It’s too bad NASA couldn’t land Patrick Stewart to narrate in Wheaton’s place. I would have seriously loved to see some Kirk versus Picard narration action.