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NASA's Curiosity rover lands on Mars
 
An artist's concept of Curiosity on Mars: In order to do its job investigating the red planet for traces of microbial alien life, the NASA rover must first survive the landing.
An artist's concept of Curiosity on Mars: In order to do its job investigating the red planet for traces of microbial alien life, the NASA rover must first survive the landing.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's rover Curiosity successfully performed a risky precision landing on Mars late Sunday night to begin a two-year mission for signs that the Red Planet once had condition conducive to supporting life. The robotic lab had sailed through space for eight months, and covered 352 million miles before it touched down on Mars. The $2.5 billion mission is NASA's first astrobiology mission since the 1970s-era Viking probes, and it "marks a major milestone for a U.S. space agency beset by budget cuts and the recent loss of its 30-year-old space shuttle program."

 

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