It was a midsummer Monday, early morning French time.
Leaving on November 26, 2011 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Curiosity robot was preparing, on August 6, 2012, to land on Mars.
And 570 million kilometers away, NASA engineers were preparing to live
"seven minutes of terror"
, between entering the Martian atmosphere and arriving on the ground of the red planet
Objective of NASA's "Mars Science Laboratory" mission: to determine if life had existed on our distant neighbor.
Seven minutes of terror, therefore, after which the heaviest and most complex vehicle ever sent to Mars (899 kg, including 80 of scientific instruments, ten years of work and 2.5 billion dollars invested) would send out a few "beeps" to signal a successful landing… or would be lost forever, like half of the previous fourteen attempts by the Russians or the Americans.
Ten years later, the robot that left for a two-year mission is still...
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