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On Thursday, December 4, NASA is launching an unmanned space craft that will eventually take humans to Mars. Orion will reach 3, 6000 miles from Earth, which is the farthest a ship that can accommodate humans has gone since Apollo 17 in 1972.

This is the first step in a manned mission to Mars. “My hope is that when we fly the capsule on Thursday, it will energize the public and energize that middle schooler [who] isn’t quite sure what he wants to do, but he likes math and science,” says Richard Boitnott, an engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center.

The first flight to Mars isn’t expected until 2035, with shorter flights in between. This particular mission will fly for four hours and 24 minutes, orbit Earth twice and drop into the Pacific Ocean not too far from San Diego

Watch the live feed from NASA’s press conference below!

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

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Jenna Busch

Jenna Busch is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Legion of Leia and has hosted and written for sites like Nerdist, ComingSoon.net, Metro, Birth. Movies. Death., IGN, AOL, Huffington Post and more. She co-hosted Cocktails With Stan with the legendary Stan Lee and has appeared on Attack of the Show, Fresh Ink, Tabletop with Wil Wheaton, in the documentary She Makes Comics, on NPR and Al Jazeera America, and has covered film/TV/gaming/comics for years. She's currently a co-host on Most Craved. She's been published in the comics anthology Womanthology, is a chapter author for Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind, Game of Thrones Psychology and Star Trek Psychology and more, and owns a terrifying amount of swords and 20-sided dice. There are also those My Little Pony trailer voice overs that give one nightmares.

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