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JPL Pulls it Together

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When the Genesis space probe fell crashing to the hardpan of the Utah desert earlier this week, it looked like another black mark on NASA's operating record. The failure of the parachutes to deploy made the hype about Hollywood stunt pilots swooping in to snag the fragile spacecraft seem slightly ridiculous. Pictures of the shattered probe lying baking in the sun did not seem to offer any hope that the mission could be salvaged.The JPL braintrust was not to be detered, however. They put their eggheads together and devised a plan to retrieve as much of the damaged payload as possible. After moving the craft to a clean room and picking through its tattered innards, NASA officials are cautiously optimistic. The mission may indeed yield good science, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of our sun.

So we raise a glass to you JPL. A malfunctioning explosive bolt gave you lemons, and you turned it into lemonade for physicists and space geeks everywhere.

Now, if you could just send a rover to check out the face on Mars....