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Sunday, when the high-tech rover Curiosity lands on Mars, all the world will be watching.  But nobody will be paying more attention than the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab, who engineered the flight and the landing or the scientists at Caltech, who will do the exploring for the next two years.  It's a huge gamble costing $2.5 billion that could end up in a heap of twisted metal, or it could help determine if there's ever been life on Mars.  It could also determine the future of America's space program. We hear about generations of dreams and "seven minutes of terror." On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, is temporary employment the new normal?

Banner image: NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its panoramic camera to record this eastward horizon view on the 2,407th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. (October 31, 2010)

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Anna Scott
Frances Anderton

Main Topic The Mars Mission: Made in LA 25 MIN, 45 SEC

At 10:31 Sunday evening, Pacific Standard Time, the Mars Laboratory called "Curiosity" will land on the Red Planet, after decelerating from 13,000 miles an hour in just seven minutes. We hear about some of the reasons for nail-biting at the Jet Propulsion Lab and Cal Tech in Pasadena.

Guests:
Ian O'Neill, Discovery News (@astroengine)
Steven Lee, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (@NASAJPL)
Bethany Ehlmann, Caltech (@caltech)
Edward Krupp, Griffith Observatory (@GriffithNews)
Adam Schiff, US Congress (D-CA) (@RepAdamSchiff )

Main Topic Is Temporary Employment the New Normal? 24 MIN, 7 SEC

Image-for-WWLA.jpgIt used to be a given that a rise in temporary employment was a sign of economic recovery and that permanent hiring would not be far behind. In recent months, temporary hiring is on the rise, but the old pattern does not seem to be holding. Employers are not only keeping their temps longer, they're even using them for professional jobs and executive positions. The consequences could be very different at different ends of the income scale. We look at the potential consequences, which may be very different for blue-collar workers than they are for professionals or in the executive suites.

Guests:
Gabriel Thompson, journalist and author (@G_Thompson1)
Sara Horowitz, Freelancers Union (@Sara_Horowitz)
Cary Leahey, Decision Economics (@mcleahey)
Nik Theodore, University of Illinois, Chicago

Working in the Shadows

Gabriel Thompson

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