Later on Saturday, Houston will hold its breath for seven minutes of uncertainty as its car-sized Mars lander, Curiosity, dives into the Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph and attempts a safe landing on the surface. The rover has been traveling for 8.5 months and crossed a distance of over 352-million-miles, and will use a combination of parachutes, heat shields, rockets, and nylon to get to the surface unscathed. The process will be mediated automatically by computer, and mission controllers won't know if the landing is successful until several minutes later.
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