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Mars Curiosity: Looking Forward, Looking Back

On August 6, 2012 the Curiosity rover made a successful touchdown on Mars. It was a thrilling moment, the culmination of many careers and decades of hard work -- but at the same time it was just the beginning of the rover's mission on Mars. In the videos below, listen to Allen Chen, who calmly narrated the landing sequence every step of the way. Chen was Entry, Descent, and Landing Operations Lead for the rover (technically known as the Mars Science Laboratory or MSL), and at 2:33 in this video his words: "Touchdown confirmed. We are safe on Mars!" sparked an explosion of joy in the JPL Control Room. Watch this and remember, space fans.

That was looking back. Now let's look forward. In this video below, Chen says: "I've spent almost a third of my life doing this. You don't have many chances to design your baby, to figure out what it's supposed to do in its life, but I feel like we got a chance here." Moody, beautifully shot, and well worth your time.

Mars Rover Curiosity from Mutant Jukebox - Music & Sound on Vimeo.

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Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
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Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

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What's the Saltiest Water in the World?
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Saltwater is common around the world—indeed, salty oceans cover more than two-thirds of the globe. Typical saltwater found in our oceans is about 3.5% salt by weight. But in some areas, we find naturally occurring saltwater that's far saltier. The saltiest water yet discovered is more than 12 times saltier than typical seawater.

Gaet’ale is a pond in Ethiopia which currently holds the record as the most saline water body on Earth. The water in that pond is 43.3% dissolved solids by weight—most of that being salt. This kind of water is called hypersaline for its extreme salt concentration.

In the video below, Professor Martyn Poliakoff explains this natural phenomenon—why it's so salty, how the temperature of the pond affects its salinity, and even why this particular saltwater has a yellow tint. Enjoy:

For the paper Poliakoff describes, check out this abstract.

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