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Mars Planet

October 24, 2001 | Associated Press
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft appeared to successfully enter orbit late Tuesday around the Red Planet, where the space agency suffered back-to-back failures on its previous two tries. Engineers and scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena received preliminary indication shortly before 8 p.m. that a programmed engine firing had slowed the spacecraft and allowed Mars to capture it into an egg-shaped orbit. Mission control at the lab erupted in cheers. "It's great.
August 13, 2005 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
A school-bus sized spacecraft carrying the largest telescope ever installed in a planetary probe blasted off early Friday morning from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, beginning a seven-month journey to the Red Planet.
August 12, 2005 | From Associated Press
NASA postponed the liftoff of a spacecraft to Mars on Thursday after a glitch popped up in the computer software used for monitoring the fueling of the launch rocket. The problem with sensors and software that measure the amount of fuel being loaded into the rocket appeared minutes before liftoff. NASA rescheduled the launch for today, three days after the shuttle Discovery returned to Earth.
June 4, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA is moving ahead with plans to put a long-armed lander on Mars to probe its icy north pole and search for possible signs of life, the space agency said Thursday. The $386-million Phoenix Mars is scheduled to touch down in May 2008. The stationary probe will use its robotic arm to dig into the icy terrain and scoop up soil samples to analyze.
April 9, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA has approved up to 18 more months of operations by the twin rovers that have discovered evidence of a watery past on Mars. The extension covers operations until September 2006, NASA said Tuesday. Both of the solar-powered, six-wheel robot geologists landed on the Red Planet in January 2004 and have completed their three-month prime missions and 11 months of mission extensions. The space agency did not announce the cost of the mission extension.
December 24, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two new studies are challenging the notion that the desolate Martian plains once brimmed with salty pools of water that could have supported some form of life. The studies, published in the current issue of the journal Nature, argue that layered rock outcrops probed by NASA's Opportunity rover appear to have formed from volcanic ash that reacted with small traces of acidic water and sulfur dioxide gas, said geochemist Thomas McCollom of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
December 1, 2005 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
Using sophisticated radar aboard the European Mars Express spacecraft, scientists have for the first time peered into the heart of Mars, uncovering ancient geological structures and reservoirs of ice more than a mile beneath the arid surface. "We're looking at the third dimension on Mars, something no other mission has done before," Agustin Chicarro, project scientist for the European Space Agency, said during a news conference Wednesday from the agency's Paris headquarters.
May 28, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Mars rover Spirit has discovered several layers of rocks in a hilly region of the Red Planet that suggest a wet and violent history in the planet's early life, scientists said Tuesday. The six-wheeled robot has been examining rocks from three outcrops in the Gusev Crater region that show possible successive deposits of water-altered debris from explosive events.
December 7, 2002 | Usha Lee McFarling, Times Staff Writer
A new study is throwing cold water on the idea that Mars was once a warm, wet planet. Because Mars' surface is carved by major river channels and covered by huge lake or ocean shores, many scientists have long believed that the Red Planet was once warmer and wetter, and basked in Earth-like conditions that could have allowed the evolution of life.
June 30, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Mars rover Opportunity is preparing to descend into the huge Victoria Crater, a trek from which it may not be able to return. The descent will allow the rover to examine the composition and texture of exposed materials in the crater's depths for clues about ancient, wet environments. But if a wheel fails, the craft will not be able to climb back out.
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