Curiosity’s 1-Ton Touchdown
On 6 August, NASA’s robotic rover Curiosity is scheduled to reach the end of its eight-month journey to Mars and begin its high-stakes descent down to the surface of the Red Planet. In 7 nail-biting minutes, the spacecraft must transform a 5.9-kilometer-per-second approach into a soft landing near the foot of the Martian equatorial mountain Aeolis Mons. And with a 14-minute communications lag between Mars and Earth, Curiosity’s computer will have to perform the feat all on its own….
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