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Happy landiversary to one of NASA’s proudest accomplishments.

On August 5, 2012 the Mars Curiosity Rover eased its way onto the surface of the Red Planet and began a journey that has gone on eight years longer than planned, collecting valuable data about whether life can be supported there - and if those conditions existed in the past.

As part of the celebration, scientists and mission members from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Goddard Space Flight Center, as well as the United States Geological Survey took part in a Twitter Space - basically a chat room of sorts - where they shared fond memories and lessons of the historic mission to the fourth rock from the sun.

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On August 5, 2012 the Mars Curiosity Rover slowly eased its way onto the surface of the Red Planet. The rover used the camera at the end of its arm in April and May 2014 to take dozens of component images combined into this self-portrait where the rover drilled into a sandstone target called 'Windjana'

'It plays a special role in NASA's Mars exploration program,' said Mars Science Laboratory project scientist Ashwin Vasavada. 'The ultimate goal is to figure out if life ever evolved on Mars, if it existed in the past or even today.'

To do so, Curiosity was launched on November 26, 2011 from Cape Canaveral. After its months-long journey through space, the 2,000 pound, car-sized rover touched down inside the 3.7 billion-year-old, 100-mile long Gale crater and began its methodical exploration of Mars’ surface.

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JPL systems engineer Sophia Mitchell spoke about her job as a 'space Uber driver,' as she pilots the Curiosity rover from over 100 million miles away.  

'It’s definitely a dream job,' she said. 'I'm an aerospace engineer and but I really think of myself as an explorer and so the ultimate exploration job in my mind is getting to drive a massive science robot around on a different planet.'

'It plays a special role in NASA's Mars exploration program,' said Mars Science Laboratory project scientist Ashwin Vasavada. 'The ultimate goal is to figure out if life ever evolved on Mars, if it existed in the past or even today.' The Red Planet is pictured above in a handout from NASA

NASA scientists say that now-dusty Mars was once covered in bodies of water – an indication that this barren planet may have once been host to some form of life, or at least had the capacity to do so. The Mars Curiosity Rover snapped this panorama (above) of the Red Planet

What the rover learned has helped scientists paint a picture of what the planet likely looked like billions of years ago. The answer is that now-dusty Mars was once covered in bodies of water – an indication that this barren planet may have once been host to some form of life, or at least had the capacity to do so. 

That possibility was reinforced by Curiosity’s discovery of organic molecules found while drilling into shallow parts of the planet’s surface. The team spoke excitedly of future missions, such as the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover, which will be able to dig deeper than Curiosity’s tools allowed.

While the past decade has been filled with discovery, it’s also been fraught with challenges. What was supposed to be a two-year mission has been extended indefinitely and Curiosity has started to show its age, with wear-and-tear on the wheels and a drill that doesn’t operate the way it once did. 

As Mitchell noted, when something breaks on Mars, 'We can’t send someone there to repair it. We just have to figure out how to use what we have to still be able to do what we want.'

Though robots have visited our closest celestial neighbor, that’s a trip that no human has yet been able to take. 

The team enthusiastically endorsed the possibility of mankind one day making it to Mars, a trip that will be aided by vital data on radiation being collected by Curiosity - and probably with the help of Elon Musk's Starship, after it successfully conducts a orbital launch test and brings people to the moon first. 

'I can just say I hope you go to Mars,' Vasavada told one curious child who was picked to ask a question. 'We're looking forward to seeing you on Mars one day and I can tell you that Curiosity is going to help protect you.' 

As Mitchell noted, when something breaks on Mars, 'We can’t send someone there to repair it. We just have to figure out how to use what we have to still be able to do what we want.' This is an artist's concept of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft approaching Mars

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New Podcasters Infuriate Fans by Trashing Rachel Recchia & Her ‘Red Flags’

ABC Rachel Recchia.

Most Bachelor Nation fans remember Ivan Hall from season 16 of “The Bachelorette” and season seven of “Bachelor in Paradise.”  The Bachelor National alum, like many Bachelor Nation alums, now has his own podcast. Hall co-hosts “The Vibe” with another former “Bachelorette” contestant, Demar Jackson.

WATCH Hall Decimate Recchia View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Vibe (@thevibepod)

On the August 9 episode of the podcast, Hall said some choice words about current co-Bachelorette Rachel Recchia. He started by saying, “Rachel is a roller coaster – ups and downs, ups and downs, ups and downs.”

Then he said that while she may seem “sweet,” her “red flags” are obvious. The 30-year-old continued, “These guys, they have to be like when Jesse comes up to them and it’s like, ‘Hey, the group date is canceled because some stuff happened and Rachel wanted to cancel.’ In my mind, I’m like all right, this is one, two, three, four too many times on me.  I would have pulled a Logan and switched teams when she pulled that.”

Hall is referring to “Bachelorette” contestant Logan Palmer (no relation to host, Jesse Palmer), who switched from Team Rachel to Team Gabby on last week’s episode. The rejection sent Recchia into a tailspin and caused her to cancel the group date.

Co-host, Jackson, interjected “you would have been sent home. Yes. You would have had to walk the plank,” implying that what Logan Palmer managed to pull off by switching teams would not have gone so smoothly for Hall.

Hall also made fun of how Rachel threatens to quit the show “once an episode.” He went on to say, “I will say, when this first happened, I was like, dude, I’m so over it. But then I thought about it more and I’m like, ‘I don’t like to see girls cry,’ and I just felt bad for her. But at first, I was honestly just annoyed because this is happening every week.” Jackson agreed.

Hall also said that frontrunner, Tino, was the only contestant who realized that there was “a red flag on the play,” as he was the only one who called Recchia out on the inappropriateness of canceling the group date.

Viewers Were Not Having It View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Rachel Recchia (@pilot.rachel)

In the comments section of the Instagram clip shown above, many fans were more annoyed with the podcasters than they were with Recchia.  One Instagram user posted, “two men who were never leads saying a woman being emotional in a heavily-produced environment and heavily-edited television show is a ‘red flag’”

Another poster wrote, “Yeah let’s blame the woman when the entire environment has been toxic and manipulative for her and it made her feel insecure which isn’t her fault at all – it’s not a red flag. Plenty of ppl cried throughout the franchise and Rachel/Gabby are under the scrutiny and constant criticism of being the first double bachelorettes. Come on dude.”

Someone else commented, “The show set them up for this by making it a two lead season. Have some empathy. There’s no need to have a hot take on every single thing, especially when that take is hurtful to someone.”

Echoing the sentiments of other commenters, one fan wrote, “It’s the lack of empathy for me. ???? Imagine becoming so irrelevant that you disparage a woman who’s in a vulnerable state and who set boundaries for her own mental health, all for some views and comments. This is gross Ivan. Do better.”

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