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7 Minutes of Terror - NASA's "Curiosity"
A  mathematical feat of precision engineering.

“Curiosity” lands on Mars, August 5th, 2012.

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A communication time delay of fourteen minutes, between Mars and Earth, means Curiosity will have to nail the landing by itself, following the half million lines of computer code that engineers uploaded to direct its every move for its two-year mission, to study if microbial life had potentially existed on Mars.

When it opens that fast, its a neck snapping 9 G’s … everything must work perfectly or its game over.Tom Rivellini, EDL Engineer

NASA’s new landing technique for the 2,000-pound robot involved engineering a super sonic 100 pound parachute to brake 65,000 pounds of force, with added jets to control the landing site, and finally a twenty-foot bridal to lower the 1 ton lab to flawlessly rest on Martian soil, without ensuing a dust storm. “The degree of difficulty is above a 10,” says Adam Steltzner, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the mission.