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WATCH: NASA Tests New Mars Braking System

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released a video of its test of a new inflatable braking system designed to land heavy payloads on Mars.

The Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator was carried aloft by a balloon and then rocketed to an altitude of 190,000 feet above Hawaii. As Discovery News explains: "The thin air and low pressure at that altitude is as close as engineers can come to simulating flight in Mars' atmosphere."

Everything went well right up to the deployment of the parachute, which was ripped to shreds.

As The Los Angeles Times says: "the 100-foot wide parachute did not behave as the engineers had hoped. It began to fray and tear as soon as it unfurled behind the 7,000-pound vehicle plummeting to Earth."

Even so, engineers say the test was a success.

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Colombia's La Momposina Sings A Tangled Social History

On this week's Alt Latino, we spend time with an album from Colombian singer Totó la Momposina. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with NPR's Felix Contreras about Tambolero.
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'Oleogustus' Is The Newly Discovered Taste, And Boy, Is It Bad

There's a new, sixth taste for humans: the taste for fat. But Rick Mattes of Purdue University tells NPR's Rachel Martin to think less yummy ice cream, more rancid food.
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Obama To Detail Tougher Plan To Fight Climate Change

President Obama will unveil climate change regulations Monday, expected to set tougher limits on coal than previously proposed. NPR's Scott Horsley previews the announcement with host Rachel Martin.
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Despite Host Controversy, Amazon Takes A Chance On 'Top Gear'

The trio that made Top Gear the world's biggest car show will return to the small screen in a new show for Amazon Prime. The BBC canned one of its hosts last year after a fight with a producer.

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