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15 views • December 23, 2022

JPL and the Space Age: Landing on Mars

In the summer of 2003, two NASA rovers began their journeys to Mars at a time when the Red Planet and Earth were the nearest they had been to each other in 60,000 years. To capitalize on this alignment, the rovers had been built at breakneck speed by teams at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The mission came amid further pressures, from mounting international competition to increasing public scrutiny following the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven. NASA was in great need of a success. “Landing on Mars” is the story of Opportunity and Spirit surviving a massive solar flare during cruise, the now well-known “six minutes of terror,” and what came close to being a mission-ending software error for the first rover once it was on the ground. Documentary length: 60 minutes
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