Because just like you and your friend will only make this particular trip once, MSL only has one journey to Mars.
Mars Science Lab Atlas V Launch – 26 November, 2011
Everyone was really excited for the landing on Mars Science Lab (MSL) Sunday night. I worked for the Launch Services Program as the trajectory analyst for MSL. The landing was exciting for me because, even though the Atlas V launch vehicle and MSL spacecraft separated eight and a half months ago, this journey to the surface of Mars is one the rocket put it on. The landing place and the time of landing is what dictates where and when the spacecraft is dropped off by the rocket.
Let’s say you and your best friend decide, Saturday morning, August 4, you want to drive from Kennedy Space Center to New York City to see the Mars Science Lab landing broadcast live in Times Square on Sunday night (August 6, 1:31am EDT).
East Coast of USA – Kennedy Space Center in Florida to New York City
You have to decide if you want to get there on Sunday
at 3pm to catch a Broadway matinee
at 7pm for dinner
at 11pm ...