NASA spacecraft barreling toward a Mars landing
PASADENA, Calif. – After an 8 1/2-month voyage through space, NASA's souped-up Mars spacecraft zoomed toward the red planet for what the agency hopes will be an epic touchdown.
The fiery punch through the tenuous Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph Sunday night marks the beginning of "seven minutes of terror" as the Curiosity rover aims for a bull's-eye landing inside a massive crater near the equator.
The latest landing attempt is more nerve-racking than in the past because NASA is testing out a new routine. Curiosity will steer itself part of the way and end on a dramatic note: Dangling by cables until its six wheels touch the ground.
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