Sunday, November 20, 2011

VIDEO | Mars Curiosity: The 'Super Bowl' of Space Quests

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By Florida Today

     NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory is the largest, most scientifically capable spacecraft ever destined for the surface of another planet. Its Curiosity rover can travel miles rather than meters, and it’s equipped to determine whether Mars is, or ever could have been, a planetary harbor for primitive life.

INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: History of U.S. Mars exploration

But the spacecraft also is two years late and almost a billion dollars over budget. Its scheduled launch this week comes at a time when NASA — still struggling to find its way after the retirement of America’s iconic shuttle fleet — is anxious to exhibit its technological competence and prowess.

So failure is not an option. . . .

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