One Year of Curiosity: A Look Back

Curiosity's landing on Mars - a marvel of 21st century engineering - was in and of itself probably the rover's greatest feat to date.

Curiosity's landing on Mars - a marvel of 21st century engineering - was in and of itself probably the rover's greatest accomplishment to date. After all, most missions to Mars fail, and Curiosity had to undergo a series of complex and novel procedures in order to make a safe landing on the Red Planet.


In other words, the risky $2.5 billion mission easily could have been a failure. And worse yet, NASA scientists would have to endure "seven minutes of terror" - the time that would elapse before they would know if the landing was a success or failure. We detailed the major challenges the landing had to overcome here, and it is also worth revisiting NASA's video below. 

Watch here:

Curiosity's successful landing was a huge marketing win for NASA, and as you might recall, every movement it made was monumental and every photo it snapped was historic. But our attention has since waned. Not even the exploration of Mars can produce the kind of thrill-a-minute buzz that is required to capture our crowded attention spans.

But Curiosity has been busy, and the rover's accomplishments are many. We recommend you check out this gallery of Curiosity images and videos

Get the latest Curiosity updates from NASA here

Image courtesy of NASA

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
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Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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