Light Years

What we've done on Mars, and what's next

The much-celebrated Mars rover Curiosity is headed for Mount Sharp, where it will help scientists explore the question of life on Mars as it climbs up and up.

Meanwhile, however, NASA's budget for planetary exploration is slated to go down, down, down.

Scientists are basking in the success of Curiosity's stunning landing last week, proving that a complicated system involving a parachute and a sky crane can safely deliver a 2,000-pound vehicle to Mars. The $2.6 billion Curiosity will spend years roaming the planet, snapping photos and gathering scientific data.

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