Nov. 11, 1982 was a bittersweet day on Earth. It was Veterans Day; the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington would be dedicated that weekend. And at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., engineers made a mistake.
They were trying to nurse along the Viking 1 lander on Mars, which had touched down there in 1976 -- and surprised them by surviving in the eternal cold there for six years, three months, and 22 days. They transmitted new commands to the ship's computer so that...Full Story