By John Schwartz, New York Times, 08.15.12
The rover Curiosity survived its famed “seven minutes of terror” and has touched down on the surface of Mars, and the world cheered.
Getting people to the Red Planet hasn’t been a success story, however. “Landing humans on Mars has been 20 or 30 years away for the last 40 years or so,” the rover driver Scott Maxwell at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory told Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine this month. He acknowledged that there has not been the “political will” to take on such an expensive and risky project. But, he added, “All I know for sure is, if they’d put me on a rocket, I’d go.”
The entrepreneur Elon Musk, whose NASA-supported private company launched a craft in May that successfully docked with the International Space Station, has said that his real goal is to send people to Mars in 15 or 20 years.
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[Image: Nadav Neuhaus]