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Snapshot of total temperature distribution at supersonic speed of mach 2.4. Total temperature allows the team to visualize the extent of the exhaust plumes as the temperature of the plumes is much greater than that of the surrounding atmosphere. Credit: NASA

The type of vehicle that will carry people to the Red Planet is shaping up to be “like a two-story house you’re trying to land on another planet. 

Processing plutonium-238

Since its 1977 launch, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has travelled farther than any other piece of human technology. It is also the only human-made object to have entered interstellar space. More recently, the agency’s New Horizons mission flew past Pluto on July 14, giving us our first close-up lo...