Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is on the verge of attempting an audacious maneuver that could make his next space flight notable not just for the takeoff, but for the landing. Typically rocket boosters have their few minutes in the fiery, 3-2-1 spotlight, propelling the rest of the stages into the great beyond, before petering out and crashing.

But Musk thinks ditching one of the most expensive parts of the rocket is a waste. His startup SpaceX has designed a rocket he hopes will be able to launch, then return to Earth, touching down softly on the bullseye of a barge floating in the Atlantic. Musk said that the odds of pulling off such a feat are "perhaps 50 percent." But doing with consistency would be an advancement for space flight. - Washington Post