Mars goal: Nail the landing
PASADENA, Calif. (MCT) — Three weeks from Sunday night, an amiable, whip-smart engineer named Ray Baker will be staring into his computer screen at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, hopeful and helpless — or, as he puts it, “sweating blood.”
The night will have been 10 years and $2.5 billion in the making, incorporating the work of 5,000 people in 37 states. And then, 154 million miles from home, the fate of the most ambitious machine humans have sent to another planet will rest on a seven-minute landing sequence so far-fetched it looks like something Wile E. Coyote devised to catch the Road Runner.
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