The hair-raising 7-min. descent and high-precision landing of NASA's Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars last week (p. 24) provided a much-needed reinvigoration to a space agency that is struggling to stay relevant after last year's retirement of the space shuttle fleet. President Barack Obama hailed NASA's previously untried entry, descent and landing of a car-sized laboratory as “an unprecedented feat of technology.” Videos and images from the mission went viral on the Internet, a ...

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