NASA’s rover looks for life-friendly environments
2012 SCIENCE NEWS TOP 25: 2
Besieged by budget cuts and diminished by the end of the shuttle era, NASA got a welcome shot in the arm in August as mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., watched their latest interplanetary emissary guide itself to a safe landing on Mars. Curiosity’s arrival on the Red Planet ignited a firestorm of enthusiasm for space sciences, as millions followed the spectacular touchdown online.
The rover’s landing included a hypersonic parachute ride, then an acrobatic sky-crane maneuver involving a retro-rocket-powered descent stage that