DarkNemesis618 writes "The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched 12 August 2005, has nearly completed its 7 month journey to the Red Planet. At 9:24 pm GMT, the MRO is scheduled to fire its thrusters to slow it down enough to enter Mars orbit. NASA scientists are concerned about this final step for the orbiter as Mars has a history of 'swallowing' probes, orbiters, and landers sent to the Red Planet. What makes it more difficult is the delay time between NASA computers on earth and computers on board the orbiter. There is about a 12 minute delay between when data is sent from Earth to the time the orbiter's receivers pick it up, and vice versa. Because of this, onboard computers will handle the burn which adds to the risk."
"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers."
-- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a
particularly vivid fantasy)