Beagle2 Found

NASA has found the crash site of Britain’s Beagle 2 Mars probe, which disappeared while attempting to make a soft touchdown on the planet on Christmas Day in 2003. After losing radio contact with the probe, scientists assumed the probe had been destroyed, but the new imagery indicates that it is in one piece.

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Martian Close Encounter

Three NASA spacecraft in orbit around Mars, the Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and MAVEN, were sent signals to remain in orbit on one side of Mars while comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring passed within 88,000 miles of the planet. NASA feared that particles from the comet could endanger or damage the orbiters during the cometary flyby on October 20. The satellites were also used to gather data on the flyby, as were the rovers currently on the Martian surface.

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India Goes to Mars

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully inserted the Mars Orbital Mission (MOM) into Martian orbit, making it the first country to successfully send an orbiter to Mars on its first attempt. The cost of the mission was also just over $70 million, making it one of the least expensive missions to Mars. The mission will study surface features, morphology, mineralogy, and Martian atmosphere.

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Fountains of Mars

NASA has announced that Curiosity has found signs that water once flowed freely on the red planet. The evidence shows that Curiosity landed near an area that once held rapidly flowing water as evidenced by water-eroded gravel.

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Bradbury on Mars

On August 22, what would have been Ray Bradbury’s 92 birthday, NASA announced that it had named the landing site for the Curiosity rover in the author’s honor: Bradbury Landing. Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6 and took its first drive today.

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Spirit Rover Shutdown

NASA sent the shutdown command to the Mars Spirit Rover on May 25, seven years after the exploration vehicle landed. Spirit was scheduled to operate for approximately three weeks and cover a distance of a couple hundred yards. Instead, it operated for more than five years and covered almost five miles. Spirit made its last transmission on March 22, 2010. Spirit‘s sister craft, Opportunity, is still operating.

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SF on Mars

Filmmaker George Pál (1908-1980) and nineteenth century author Percy Greg (1836-1889) have had craters named for them on Mars. Currently, large craters on Mars are named for scientists who have studied Mars or writers who have contributed to Martian lore. Pál directed the films Destination Moon, When Worlds Collide, The Time Machine, and Atlantis, the Lost Continent, in addition to the Martian film War of the Worlds. Greg wrote the novel Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record. Both craters are located east of Hellas Planitia basin. Pál Crater is about 79 km wide near 110°E, 30°S and Greg is about 68 km wide near 112°E, 38°S. This also marks the first time the IAU has use John Clute and Peter Nichol’s The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction on the list of references cited in planetary nomenclature.

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In Marsport with Isaac

The IAU has officially named an 84-kilometer wide crater located in Noachis Terra on Mars after Isaac Asimov. Asimov Crater can be found at 47.0°S, 355.1°W.

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