Apparently NASA's space program is not entirely dead or limited to Muslim esteem enhancement and appeasement.
The NASA rover 'Curiosity' made an amazing landing near the Gale Crater, in Mars' southern hemisphere, and is already sending back photos:
That last one is maybe an artist's conception or something.
Curiosity was sent to Mars to look for any current signs of life, and to examine whether the Red Planet may have once had the basic buildings blocks necessary for humanoid life.
The rover was launched on November 26 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the robotic lab embarked through space on an eight month journey that covered 352 million miles (566 million km), before entering Mars' thin atmosphere at 13,000 MPH and starting its descent.
Protected by capsule-like shell, the Rover successfully used a first-of-its kind automated flight-entry system to sharply reduce its speed in order to land safely.
One of the challenges of these missions is not only generating enough speed to make the trip in a reasonable amount of time, but being able to put the brakes on successfully in order to be able to land safely without burning up once youhit atmosphere.
Everything appears to have worked out well so far, and Earth bound scientists are putting Curiosity through a series of tests before they send the Rover out cruisin' to see what kind of trouble it can get into.
All in all, an amazing achievement, and a major high five goes out to the guys and gals at JPL.