NASA's unmanned Orion spacecraft has successfully splashed down about 400 miles west of La Paz, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean after a liftoff, two orbits and re-entry that lasted just under 4 1/2 hours.

Orion, which could one day take astronauts to Mars, made a "bull's-eye splashdown" at 11:29 a.m. ET, mission control said, after the spacecraft endured a searing 4,000-degree Fahrenheit re-entry and was carried to the ocean surface under four giant red-and-white parachutes.

Eric Mennel

My dog. Hands down - that's the picture I'm sending to Mars. No questions asked.

There's a group of students at Duke who are trying to give me the opportunity for about $1. Time Capsule To Mars is a several-years-long project that is crowdfunding to cover much of the cost of sending a satellite time capsule to the Red Planet.

For now, they're accepting picture uploads. But they plan to expand all sorts of media.