05.24.2002

Challenges of Getting to Mars: Entry, Descent, and Landing

Navigators must safely maneuver Spirit and Opportunity to their precise atmospheric entry points to reach their landing targets on the surface of Mars. In only six minutes, the spacecraft must slow down from an incredible speed of 12,000 mph to nearly zero. In this three-part episode of "The Challenges of Getting to Mars," spacecraft engineers give a play-by-play of the Entry, Decent, and Landing mission phase that they refer to as their nailbiting "Six Minutes of Terror."