UNCOVERING THE SECRETS OF MARS

THIS JULY 4, THE HOPES AND DREAMS OF NASA SCIENTISTS--AND SPACE BUFFS AROUND THE WORLD--RODE WITH PATHFINDER AND ITS TINY ROBOT SOJOURNER. THEIR TRIUMPHANT TOUCHDOWN HERALDS A NEW ERA OF SPACE EXPLORA

From the surface of Mars--where the sky is salmon and Earth is a blue morning star--you probably would have noticed the spaceship coming. It may have been the noise the thing made that caught your attention; although the Martian atmosphere is spent and shredded, it's not too tenuous to carry sound. And it's certainly not too tenuous to make anything that tries to punch through it pay the price, causing the interloper to glow like a meteor as it plunged toward a touchdown somewhere on the ancient world. That you couldn't have missed.

There was, of course, no one in Mars'...