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NASA Launches Mars Rover Curiosity

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A Mars rover nicknamed "Curiosity" lifted off successfully from Cape Canaveral Saturday morning. The mission will study the chemical makeup of air and soil on Mars using instruments that have been designed and built in Maryland.

The suite of instruments is called the Sample Analysis at Mars -- or SAM. It was developed at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. SAM is designed to analyze samples of rock and soil, as well as the air around it.

Melissa Trainer, a research scientist at Goddard, says NASA is trying to determine whether life was ever present on Mars.

"All we know about habitable environments are what we see on Earth," says Trainer. "So it's important to kind of expand our focus and understand what habitability can mean on another planet."

Trainer says they'll conduct status checks, but won't receive the real data until they land on the surface. Goddard scientists will be waiting to analyze the information streaming back to Earth.

The rover is expected to touch down on Mars in August.

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In Its Retelling, 'Roots' Is Powerful, Must-See Television

This weekend, an eight-hour remake of the 1977 miniseries begins airing on A&E, Lifetime and The History Channel. TV critic David Bianculli says the new Roots deserves to be seen and talked about.
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Evaporated Cane Juice? Puh-leeze. Just Call It Sugar, FDA Says

Companies cultivating a healthful image often list "evaporated cane juice" in their products' ingredients. But the FDA says it's really just sugar, and that's what food labels should call it.
NPR

Democrats Burned By Charges Of A Rigged Nomination, But Some In GOP Watch With Envy

Even some of Hillary Clinton's foremost fans and staunchest party regulars — such as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi — are ready to talk about a fresh infusion of populism for the next round.
NPR

Reports Peg Tech Billionaire As Funder Of Hulk Hogan's Case Against Gawker

The New York Times says entrepreneur Peter Thiel confirms he has been bankrolling the ex-wrestler's lawsuit. Gawker is appealing a jury award to Hogan of $140 million over publication of a sex tape.

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