Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover

By November 2008 most hardware and software development was complete, and testing continued. [82] At this point, cost overruns were approximately $400 million. In the attempts to meet the launch date, several instruments and a cache for samples were removed and other instruments and cameras were simplified to simplify testing and integration of the rover. [83][84] The next month, NASA delayed the launch to late 2011 because of inadequate testing time. [85][86][87] Eventually the costs for developing the rover reached $2. 47 billion, that for a rover that initially had been classified as a medium-cost mission with a maximum budget of $650 million, yet NASA still had to ask for an additional $82 million to meet the planned November launch. As of 2012, the project suffered an 84 percent overrun. [88]

"We are just beginning to try and figure out quantitatively how all this might smooth a surface," Dr. Thomas said in the May 17, 2013 New Scientist. Jupiter, along with its beautiful ringed sister planet, Saturn, are the gas-giant duo of our Sun's family of eight major planets. The other two giant planets--that dwell in our Solar System's outer limits--are Uranus and Neptune. Uranus and Neptune are classified as ice giants, because they carry within them larger cores than Jupiter and Saturn, as well as thinner gaseous envelopes. Jupiter and Saturn may (or may not) contain small, hidden cores, that are heavily veiled by extremely massive, dense gaseous envelopes. Until 2004, no spacecraft had visited Saturn for more than twenty years. Pioneer 11 had snapped the very first up close and personal images of Saturn when it traveled past it in 1979, Voyager 1 flew past Saturn about a year later, and in August 1981, Voyager 2 had its own fleeting but very productive close encounter. At last, on July 1, 2004, NASA's Cassini spacecraft went into orbit around Saturn, and started taking very revealing photographs of this bewitching planet and its many lovely and bizarre moons.