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Latest Mars Odyssey Stories

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2006-10-21 00:00:00

Every day for the past decade, the U.S. has had a presence at Mars, using spacecraft to understand this extreme world and its potential as a past or present habitat for life. During that time, all spacecraft have become virtually incommunicado for about two weeks every two years. The reason is solar conjunction, which occurs again from October 18-29, 2006. Solar conjunction is the period when Earth and Mars, in their eternal march around the Sun, are obscured from each other by the fiery orb...

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2006-09-25 20:10:00

NASA's Mars robotic missions are performing so well, they are being prepared for additional overtime work. The team operating the twin Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, since January 2004, won approval for an additional year of exploration. NASA funded the extensions on recommendations from an outside panel of scientists. NASA also is adding two more years of operations for Mars Global Surveyor, which has been orbiting Mars since 1997, and the Mars Odyssey orbiter, at the red...

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2006-09-12 22:05:00

JPL - NASA's newest spacecraft at Mars has completed the challenging half-year task of shaping its orbit to the nearly circular, low-altitude pattern from which it will scrutinize the planet. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter fired its six intermediate-size thrusters for 12.5 minutes Monday afternoon, Sept. 11, shifting the low point of its orbit to stay near the Martian south pole and the high point to stay near the north pole.  The altitude of the orbit ranges from 250 kilometers (155...

2006-08-31 07:33:12

Nearly six months after it entered orbit, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has concluded its aerobraking phase. The spacecraft had been dipping in and out of the Red Planet's atmosphere to adjust its orbit. On August 30, 2006, during its 445th orbit, the spacecraft fired its intermediate thrusters to raise the low point of its orbit and stop dipping into the atmosphere. The six-minute engine burn began at 10:36 a.m. PST, altering the spacecraft's course so that its periapsis (the closest it...

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2006-06-19 18:31:27

NASA's newest spacecraft at Mars has already cut the size and duration of each orbit by more than half, just 11 weeks into a 23-week process of shrinking its orbit. By other indicators, the lion's share of the job lies ahead. "The orbits are getting shorter and shorter. We've finished about 80 of them so far, but we have about 400 more to go, and the pace really quickens toward the end," said Dan Johnston, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter deputy mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion...

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2006-03-31 17:19:04

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter yesterday began a crucial six-month campaign to gradually shrink its orbit into the best geometry for the mission's science work. Three weeks after successfully entering orbit around Mars, the spacecraft is in a phase called "aerobraking." This process uses friction with the tenuous upper atmosphere to transform a very elongated 35-hour orbit to the nearly circular two-hour orbit needed for the mission's science observations. The orbiter has been flying...

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2006-03-29 13:13:00

"That's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind." That famous communique from Apollo 11 during the historic first-ever moon walk was brought to you by the 64-meter antenna at NASA's Deep Space Network in Goldstone, Calif. The antenna has accumulated a rich legacy during its 40 years of supporting space exploration. In addition to capturing the words of astronauts on all the Apollo moon missions, the dish has communicated with the computers and equipment on every one of NASA's...

2006-03-24 19:34:42

By Gina Keating LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Friday returned the first test images from its super high-resolution cameras, the most powerful photographic equipment to be trained on the Red Planet in NASA's search for water and life. The black-and-white photos, taken by three cameras, show deep channels and layered surface debris around the planet's midsection, features that probably were formed by water, said Alfred McEwen, a mission scientist and...

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2006-03-24 17:05:26

JPL -- The first test images of Mars from NASA's newest spacecraft provide a tantalizing preview of what the orbiter will reveal when its main science mission begins next fall. Three cameras on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter were pointed at Mars at 8:36 p.m. PST Thursday, while the spacecraft collected 40 minutes of engineering test data. The cameras are the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, the Context Camera and the Mars Color Imager. "These high-resolution images of Mars...

2006-03-10 18:29:31

By Dan Whitcomb PASADENA, California (Reuters) - A $450 million NASA spacecraft achieved orbit around Mars on Friday, successfully completing a make-or-break maneuver in its two-year mission to scour the red planet for evidence of life and landing spots for future astronauts. Mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena erupted in loud cheers when the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter signaled it had dropped into a perfect orbit around a planet that has defeated...


Word of the Day
drawcansir
  • A blustering, bullying fellow; a pot-valiant braggart; a bully.
This word is named for Draw-Can-Sir, a character in George Villiers' 17th century play The Rehearsal.
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