Curiosity carries one of the most "complicated instruments ever to land on the surface of another planet," according to NASA. The rover's "Sample Analysis at Mars" — which can take dirt and crushed rock from the Red Planet and analyze those samples for indicators of alien life — was partly built in the Big Apple by Honeybee Robotics. Flora Lichtman got a tour of the facility.
Adam Steltzner, the leader of the Mars rover's entry, descent and landing engineering team, says he was terrified of "a false positive celebration" in the control room. Fortunately for him, Curiosity landed perfectly. Now he's eyeing Jupiter's moon.
The Mars rover Curiosity is exploring the surface of the Red Planet in the Gale Crater, and it is also tweeting about its mission. The rover has a distinct personality, albeit one made by the strokes on a keyboard from the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif.
The Gates Foundation has granted engineers more than $3 million to develop cheap, high-tech toilets that don't need water or electricity. To test these supercommodes, the foundation has purchased 50 pounds of soybean paste that resembles human waste.
San Antonio dramatically cut consumption and invested in water recycling and desalination projects. The city still uses about the same amount of water it did in the early '90s even though it has added more than 300,000 residents. It now bills itself as "Water's Most Resourceful City."
Fossils discovered in East Africa suggest that Homo erectus, the species believed to be humans' direct ancestor, may have shared Earth with two genetically distinct but similar species. Some paleontologists believe that these species may be distant relatives to modern humans, while others need more evidence.
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