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2012 Runner-Up: Landing Curiosity

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Weighing in at over 3 tons, Curiosity is NASA’s beefiest rover yet—and it was too heavy for the “entry, descent, and landing” (EDL) systems used for earlier Mars missions. The new and “sky crane” EDL system, invented specifically for Curiosity, worked perfectly—placing Curiosity on Mars, safe and sound, and right on target. In this video, Science Deputy News Editor Robert Coontz describes this innovative landing gear and what it means for space exploration.

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