Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003 "China has announced plans for a satellite intended to orbit the moon by the year 2007, and for a series of lunar missions over the next two decades.
The deputy director of the China National Space Administration, Sun Laiyan, told reporters in Beijing Wednesday that the satellite will be just the first phase of a three-stage lunar program. He said an unmanned spacecraft would return with samples of lunar soil by the year 2020, in the final stage."

Monday, December 29, 2003

Launch Result of IGS #2/H-IIA F6 | JAXA: "Launch Result of IGS #2/H-IIA F6
29, November 2003
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No 6 (H-IIA F6) with the information gathering satellite #2 (IGS) onboard from the Tanegashima Space Center at 13:33 on November 29, 2003 (Japan Standard Time). However, the vehicle failed to jettison one of its two Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB-As). H-IIA F6 was consequently destroyed by a destruction command from the ground at 13:43:53 as the vehicle did not gain enough height and speed due to the failure.
JAXA has established an accident investigation team led by President Yamanouchi and is investigating the cause of the accident. JAXA will provide additional information when it becomes available."
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency | JAXA: "New URLs following JAXA merger
Sep 30, 2003
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will be born on Oct. 1, merging the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA).
A new JAXA website has been created. The following are the current and new website addresses for Japan's space-related web sites. Please change your links and/or bookmarks after Oct. 1. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Current websites are also accessible for a short period after Oct. 1 unless noted otherwise.

JAXA Website

The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
* This is site of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of JAXA

National Aerospace Laboratory
*This is the site of the Institute of Space Technology and Aeronautics of JAXA

Space Information Center

Space Station, Kibo Public Relations and Information Center

Earth Observation Research and Application Center (EORC)

Earth Observation Center (EOC)

The Moon Station
b e a g l e 2 : news: "Mars Exploration and the Search for Life is a Priority Says UK Science Minister.
29-Dec-03 12:00 GMT
The latest attempts to communicate with Beagle 2 via the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank and the Mars Odyssey spacecraft have been unsuccessful. However, the Beagle 2 team has not given up hope and continues to be optimistic that efforts to contact the lander will eventually be successful.
Full story
This message was also reinforced by Lord Sainsbury, UK Minister for Science and Innovation, who this morning joined members of the Beagle 2 team to answer questions about the status of the project.
'While we're disappointed that things have not gone according to plan, we are determined that the search should go on, both the search to make contact with Beagle 2 and also (the search) to answer the long term question about whether there is life on Mars,' said Lord Sainsbury.
'There's clearly still a good opportunity to make contact with Beagle 2 with Mars Express when it comes into action, and that has to be the first priority at this point. I think everything is being done by the 'tiger team' in Leicester to make contact with Beagle 2 and I want to wish them every success in their efforts.' "


Saturday, December 27, 2003

b e a g l e 2 : news: "Beagle 2 Teams Continue Efforts To Communicate With The Lander
27-Dec-03 11:50 GMT
Scientists are still waiting to hear from the Beagle 2 lander on Mars. Two attempts to communicate with Beagle 2 during the last 24 hours - first with the 250 ft (76 m) Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, UK, and then this morning with the Mars Odyssey orbiter - ended without receiving a signal. Despite this outcome, two teams at the Beagle 2 Lander Operations Control Centre in Leicester are continuing to study all possible options to establish communications with the spacecraft.
................................................... "
ESA - Mars Express: "Mars Express orbiting precisely and safely

27 December 2003 The Mars Express orbiter, mothership of Europe�s first mission to the Red Planet, is in a stable and precise orbit around Mars."
ESA - Mars Express: "Mars Express orbiting precisely and safely

27 December 2003 The Mars Express orbiter, mothership of Europe’s first mission to the Red Planet, is in a stable and precise orbit around Mars."

Friday, December 26, 2003

b e a g l e 2 : news: "Jodrell Bank doesn't find Beagle
27-Dec-03 00:25 GMT
Tonight's scan for a signal from Beagle 2 by the 250 ft (76 m) Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, UK, was unsuccessful.
Full story
The next communication opportunity with the Mars Odyssey orbiter will take place at about 06.15 GMT this morning. The results of this session will be announced at a press briefing in the Beagle 2 Media Centre at 08.30 GMT.
During this press briefing, Professor Colin Pillinger, Beagle 2 lead scientist, will be joined by Professor David Southwood, director of science for the European Space Agency, and Professor Alan Wells from the University of Leicester Space Research Centre. "

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Beagle 2 : the British led exploration of Mars: "Current status

06:53 GMT

No signal has been received from Beagle 2 during the first pass of Odyssey

04:35 GMT

Early indications suggest successful orbit insertion of Mars Express"

ESA - Mars Express Webcast

- LRK -
ESA - Mars Express - Merry Christmas from Mars:Mars Express enters orbit around the Red PlanetContact awaited with Beagle 2 on the surface: "Merry Christmas from Mars:
Mars Express enters orbit around the Red Planet
Contact awaited with Beagle 2 on the surface

25 December 2003
ESA PR 84-2003. This morning, after a journey lasting 205 days and covering 400 million kilometres, the European Mars Express space probe fired its main engine at 03:47 CET for a 37-minute burn in order to enter an orbit around Mars. This firing gave the probe a boost so that it could match the higher speed of the planet on its orbit around the Sun and be captured by its gravity field, like climbing in a spinning merry-go-round. This orbit insertion manoeuvre was a complete success."


Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Beagle 2 : the British led exploration of Mars: "Landing timeline�
Beagle 2 is due to land on Mars at 2.54am GMT, 25th December 2003. We will aim to bring you news as soon as a signal is received from the lander. This could be 6.30am GMT at the very earliest."
ESA - Mars Express - Mars Express status report...: "Mars Express status report...

24 December 2003
At 12:00 CET today, the Mars Express orbiter was 169 000 kilometres from Mars and 156 167 000 kilometres from Earth.

The orbiter is now in the final configuration for Mars Orbit Insertion. No more commands are being sent to the spacecraft until after its capture by Mars. "

Monday, December 22, 2003 Headlines: "The Secret Of The 25-Hour Day
Pasadena - Dec 23, 2003
Steven Squyres, the principal investigator for the science instruments aboard the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers, juggles his commitments to the four space missions he is actively involved in, as well as to his teaching and advising duties, with an energetic ease that makes some wonder if he has found the secret to a 25-hour day."
KRT Wire | 12/22/2003 | Earthquake changes landscape along the coast: "Posted on Mon, Dec. 22, 2003

Earthquake changes landscape along the coast
Knight Ridder Newspapers

SAN JOSE, Calif. - (KRT) - The view from Hearst Castle got just grander.
In Monday morning's earthquake, the Santa Lucia Mountain Range that holds the landmark estate and adjacent towns shrugged its shoulders and then grew with a sudden jolt, probably one to four feet, sending a 6.5-magnitude reminder that California's central coast is a very young and restless region.
'What happened was a mountain-building motion,' said geophysicist Andrew Michael of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif. 'It's what created the mountain range in the Bay Area - and more spectacularly, the mountains of the Big Sur coast.'
Seismic activity will continue over the next week or so, particularly to the south and east of the source of the earthquake, called the hypocenter, which has been located 4.7 miles underground in the rugged backcountry six miles northeast of San Simeon and 13 miles west of Lake Nacimiento. Scientists were still working Monday to pin down which fault caused the quake."

Sunday, December 21, 2003 News: "Apollo 8 launched lunar exploration 35 years ago with help of Saturn V
Times Aerospace Writer,

Thirty-five years ago today three men were launched by the Saturn V rocket on the first leg of what many believe is still humanity's grandest voyage -the trip to the moon.
Apollo 8 was lofted toward the moon by the Huntsville-designed Saturn V rocket Dec. 21, 1968, carrying astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders. The crew orbited the moon 10 times on Christmas Eve and before returning home, splashing down Dec. 27, 1968.
It also was the first time men had ridden the massive Saturn V rocket and left Earth's orbit. "

Saturday, December 20, 2003

ESA - Mars Express - Retargeting complete: "Retargeting complete

20 December 2003
At 11:50 CET, flight controllers at ESOC confirmed the success of a crucial repointing manoeuvre, setting Mars Express on its final course for Mars Orbit Insertion.

Yesterday, in order to send Beagle 2 on its way to a Mars landing, Mars Express first had to be steered onto a collision course with the planet.
Today's manoeuvre successfully redirected the spacecraft away from Mars, back to a point 400 kilometres above the surface, where it is due to enter orbit early on Christmas Day.
ESA - Mars Express: "Retargeting complete

20 December 2003 At 11:50 CET, flight controllers at ESOC confirmed the success of a crucial repointing manoeuvre, setting Mars Express on its final course for Mars Orbit Insertion."

Friday, December 19, 2003

ESA - Mars Express - Mars Express releases Beagle 2: "
Mars Express releases Beagle 2

19 December 2003
ESA PR 83-2003. This morning, ESA's Mars Express flawlessly released the Beagle 2 lander that it has been carrying since its launch on 2 June this year.

Beagle 2 is now on its journey towards the surface of Mars, where it is expected to land early in the morning of 25 December. Mars Express, Europe's first mission to Mars, has passed another challenging milestone on its way towards its final destination. "

Thursday, December 18, 2003

A golden frontier - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED: "A golden frontier

By Paul D. Spudis

Recent news stories have shown that we are in the midst of a national debate on space goals. Although many options can be envisioned, including terminating human space flight, our 45-year space history shows that America wants people in space. But to where and to what end? "
IOL : SpaceShipOne takes giant leap: "SpaceShipOne takes giant leap

December 18 2003 at 06:15AM

Mojave, California - A rocket plane broke the sound barrier on Wednesday during its first powered flight, but the achievement was marred by a partial landing gear collapse that caused it to veer off a desert runway.

SpaceShipOne test pilot Brian Binnie was not injured, and the builder, Scaled Composites LLC, said damage to the craft will be easily repaired.

The company said the test was a milestone because it marked the first manned supersonic flight by an aircraft developed by a small company's private, non-governmental effort.

The craft is being developed by famed aviation designer Burt Rutan for flights to altitudes of 100 kilometres above Earth. The flights would be suborbital: high enough to be in space but not fast enough to be in orbit."
snip > News > Business -- Rocket plane makes Rutan, SpaceDev proud: "By Bruce V. Bigelow
December 18, 2003
On a day when America observed the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, a renowned aircraft designer claimed his own milestone in the skies above Mojave Airport.
In its first powered test flight, a rocket plane designed by Burt Rutan broke the sound barrier yesterday during a 60-degree climb that lasted 15 seconds. The stubby, delta-winged craft called SpaceShipOne ignited its engine after it was released by a mother ship at an altitude of 48,000 feet.
As Rutan's rocket plane reached near-weightlessness at 68,000 feet � the highest point of its flight � ground observers heard test pilot Brian Binnie exclaim over the radio, 'Wow! That was a wild ride!'
The flight also was a milestone for SpaceDev, a small Poway company that developed key components for the SpaceShipOne rocket motor. "
Company Main: "SpaceDev, Inc.

SpaceDev (OTCBB: SPDV) creates and sells affordable and innovative space products and solutions to government and commercial enterprises. SpaceDev products and solutions include the design, manufacture, marketing and operation of sophisticated micro and nano satellites, hybrid rocket-based orbital Maneuvering and orbital Transfer Vehicles (MoTVs) as well as safe sub-orbital and orbital hybrid rocket-based propulsion systems. SpaceDev has been awarded contracts from NASA, National Reconnaissance Organization (NRO), Boeing, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Space Authority (CSA) Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and several commercial customers. SpaceDev is also developing commercial hybrid rocket motors and small high performance space vehicles and subsystems. "
SpaceDev Tests Rocket Motor for Powered SpaceShipOne Flight: "SpaceDev Tests Rocket Motor for Powered SpaceShipOne Flight

POWAY, CA (December 11, 2003) SpaceDev (OTCBB: SPDV) has successfully tested a hybrid rocket motor designed for the first powered flight of SpaceShipOne, built by Scaled Composites.

SpaceDev successfully test fired a motor with its proprietary propellant equal to about one-half the total capacity of the motor. The purpose of the test was to qualify the exact configuration of the motor to be used for SpaceShipOne's first powered test flight.

SpaceDev also performed a full flow oxidizer test through its proprietary main valve, during a recent glide test of SpaceShipOne, in further preparation of the first powered flight. The test was successful.

'This project gets more exciting every day', said SpaceDev founder and chief executive Jim Benson. 'SpaceDev and Scaled engineers are working well together on a very tight schedule, and you can feel the excitement and tension as this historic project continues to charge forward.'"
SpaceDev Powers SpaceShipOne to Break Sound Barrier

SpaceDev Powers SpaceShipOne to Break Sound Barrier
Flight on Historic 100th Anniversary of Wright Bros.

POWAY, CA (December 17, 2003) – SpaceDev’s (OTCBB: SPDV) revolutionary rocket motor technology successfully powered SpaceShipOne on its historic first powered flight, on the 100th anniversary of the first human powered flight by the Wright brothers. Today, a significant milestone was achieved by our customer, Scaled Composites, as they successfully tested the first manned supersonic flight of an aircraft developed by a small company’s private, non-government effort.

"It was an incredible sight!" said SpaceDev founding chairman and chief executive Jim Benson. "We were watching as the White Knight dropped SpaceShipOne at about ten miles up, and we waited breathlessly as the White Knight pealed off and SpaceShipOne fell for a few seconds. Then with a really visible flash of light and stream of smoke, our rocket motor lit, and SpaceShipOne seemed to blast straight up for about 15 seconds that seemed like minutes. Then the flame and smoke stopped, but you could still see little SpaceShipOne coasting up toward space at an incredible speed. What a sight! It was even more exciting than watching Apollo 17 lift off at night way back in 1972. After working on this project for four years, space is now exciting again!"

Saturday, December 13, 2003

U.S. space program needs 'destination mars': "U.S. space program needs 'destination mars'

SHARON BEGLEY, The Wall Street Journal Friday, December 12, 2003

(12-12) 08:58 PST (AP) --
Peering into the heavens on a starry night, you can't help but be struck by the single most obvious trait of that 'depthless spatter' (as John Updike called it in a recent poem): It does not lack for destinations.

But you wouldn't know that from the rumblings out of Washington. It has been 10 months since the tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia, and four months since the Accident Investigation Board called for a national debate on U.S. space goals. There hasn't been much of one; instead, officials have been meeting behind closed doors as part of an interagency review of space policy, asking how, or even whether, the U.S. should reach for missions more glorious than joy rides that go around in circles (via the space shuttle and International Space Station).

What's now emerging is more than dismaying. It looks like President Bush will propose little more than a riff on President Kennedy's vision of 42 years ago: Destination Moon.

Next week marks the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine, Orville Wright's 12-second flight over the dunes of the Outer Banks, with brother Wilbur running alongside. With that derring-do in mind, surely we can reach higher than lunar repeats. Measured by its value to science or to the soul, or by how it can inspire discovery or the imagination, the moon might as well be green cheese. "
snip - In search of the Wright stuff: "Dec. 13, 2003. 08:29 AM

In search of the Wright stuff
After the birth of the airplane on that chilly day 100 years ago, it seemed the only way to go was up Advances like the speedy s


'They done it! They done it! Damned if they ain't flew!'
---Johnny Moore, eyewitness
Humanity's future turned on the toss of a coin.

That was how Orville and Wilbur Wright decided who would be the pilot for man's first controlled, powered flight. Wilbur flipped, Orville called heads, the coin came down tails. So Wilbur would try to guide their Flyer into the air and safely back to land.

It was Dec. 14, 1903, a calm, sunny afternoon at Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Without knowing 'a wing and a prayer' would become an aviation clich', the brothers bowed their heads and asked a blessing.

The plane was launched from rails laid on the sand. Orville ran alongside and steadied the right wing as Wilbur opened the throttle. Ten metres down the track, Orville fell behind. Another couple of metres, and it began to lift. But Wilbur, without benefit of flying lessons, committed a basic piloting error. He pulled back too hard on the stick, the nose rose sharply and the Flyer stalled. It crashed to the ground, damaging the right wing.

Wilbur had been in the air less than four seconds and hardly in control. The brothers knew this didn't count. But they knew, too, what was within their grasp. They wired their father: 'Success assured. Keep quiet.'"
Technology - story - network: "Hope on horizon 100 years after first flight as U.S. president considers new course

Canadian Press
Saturday, December 13, 2003

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - On the centennial of the world's first flight, high-speed travel seems to be at an all-time low.

The Columbia is gone. So is the Concorde. The remaining space shuttles are grounded. The space station is stalled.

Yet hope is on the horizon as President George W. Bush considers what might put the United States on a new course of space exploration. After three decades of sticking close to the home planet, astronauts may be headed back to the moon. The prize, this time around, may also include Mars. "

Friday, December 12, 2003

Global space rush targets the moon: "Dec. 11 — NASA may be left in the lunar dust as other nations launch their own moon plans. There is growing moon fever in China, Japan, India and Europe as lunar orbiters and robot lander missions are plotted out. The global attraction to the moon is stirring up the prospect that expeditions from various countries are keen to plant flag and footprint on the barren and foreboding world."

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Delta IV Shuttle: Decatur rocket could be future of manned space flight program: "Delta IV Shuttle
Decatur rocket could be future
of manned space flight program

By Dawn Kent
DAILY Business Writer
Decatur may soon play a major role in the future of manned space flight, as the loss of space shuttle Columbia brings the next generation of space transportation into sharper focus.
At least 15 concepts for an orbital space plane have emerged, but all are tied to a product like one built in the River City."

Monday, December 08, 2003

SpaceX Announces Defense Department Launch Customer: "SpaceX Announces Defense Department Launch Customer

The KISS of Rocket Science
El Segundo - Oct 17, 2003
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) announced Thursday that the Office of the Secretary of Defense, through the Office of Force Transformation (OFT), has purchased the maiden voyage of the Falcon orbital launch vehicle. The launch will take place in early 2004 from the SpaceX launch complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Although developed entirely with private funding, Falcon will be the first launch vehicle consistent with the DOD goal of an operationally responsive launch capability. Moreover, Falcon represents a breakthrough in the cost of access to space and is designed to achieve a higher reliability than vehicles currently available.
TacSat-1, the satellite manifested, is being built and integrated by the US Naval Research Laboratory for OFT. It will be used for enterprise wide data and task communication for tactical and operational commanders through the Department of Defense's SIPNET. "

Wired News: Fast, Cheap Ride to Earth Orbit: "Fast, Cheap Ride to Earth Orbit By Erik Baard
Story location:,1282,61474,00.html
02:00 AM Dec. 05, 2003 PT
NEW YORK -- At 32, Elon Musk has already launched two successful online startups. But it's on a rocket that his reputation may ultimately ride.
On Thursday, Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, unveiled its seven-story Falcon orbital launch vehicle in Washington, D.C., as part of the celebrations honoring the Wright brothers' flight 100 years ago this month.
While dignitaries may wax poetic about the breakthrough at Kitty Hawk, another historic memory gnaws at Musk, the restless founder of Zip2 and co-founder of PayPal. He looks beyond the dark skies to outer space, acutely aware that this month also marks 31 years -- nearly his entire lifetime -- since the last man walked on the moon. The hefty price tag on rocket launches has profoundly limited space efforts, sidelining earlier visions of space colonies and manned exploration.
'Every other aspect of technology has improved dramatically since then,' he said. 'We have to get costs down; otherwise we'll remain in this stalled position ever since the end of the Apollo moon landings. That's crazy. Our long-term goal is to do some good for human access to space. It's not necessarily the biggest business in the world, but it's a good business.' "

Wired News: India Fires Supercool-Fuel Rocket: "01:57 PM Dec. 05, 2003 PT
BANGALORE, India -- India said Friday it has developed a rocket engine that uses supercooled liquid fuel, a technology that would allow it to launch high-altitude satellites, send a man to the moon -- or build intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The engine proved its endurance by firing for nearly 17 minutes on the ground, the Indian Space Research Organisation said in a statement. "


Such engines, known as "cryogenic" engines, are fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Rockets using these materials are primarily used to launch 2.5-ton communications satellites to orbits 22,000 miles above the earth. At that altitude, they match the speed of the rotating Earth and therefore stay fixed at one point above the ground.

Only a few countries -- including the United States, Russia and France -- can build cryogenic engines.


A cryogenic missile cannot be fired at a moment's notice. The fuel cannot be stored in a rocket indefinitely because it is highly explosive, so a missile would have to be fueled before launching.

India's bid to develop its own cryogenic engines suffered several setbacks. In 1992, Russia agreed to give India the technology but reversed the decision after Moscow signed the Missile Technology Control Regime with the United States. Washington objected to giving India the technology because of its potential use for nuclear missiles.

Russia later agreed to sell fully built engines, without passing on the technology, to India.

India developed a rudimentary form of its cryogenic technology in 2001 and several tests were held after that to fine-tune it.


© Copyright 2003, Lycos, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Getting to Low Earth Orbit: "Low Earth Orbit
Although parking a spacecraft in low earth orbit is by no means a simple task, almost all space missions so far have involved placing a spacecraft is terrestrial orbit. There are no technological problems involved and the only requirement would be an efficient propulsion system capable of delivering the thrust required to overcome Earth's gravity and obtain the velocity needed to achieve the desired orbit. "

Saturday, December 06, 2003 masters rocket technology for moon mission, says agency: "India masters rocket technology for moon mission, says agency

2003-12-07 / Associated Press /
India's space agency says it has mastered the rocket technology needed to launch high-altitude satellites and send a man to the moon.
The technology also can be used to deliver a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, scientists say.
The cryogenic engine, which uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, was successfully fired for 1,000 seconds on the ground, exceeding the 721 seconds required for space flights, the Indian Space Research Organization said in a statement Friday. "

The homegrown technology would not only allow India to replace the Russian engines but could also give India the capability to build ICBMs by modifying the launch vehicle and replacing the satellite with a bomb. India conducted nuclear tests in May 1998.
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | China sets its sights on the Moon: "China has outlined plans to land a man on the Moon by 2020, the country's chief space official said in comments broadcast on state television. "

"By 2020, we will achieve visiting the Moon," remarked Luan Enjie, director of the Chinese National Aerospace Bureau.

Translators said that Luan used a verb that specifically describes a human mission to the Earth satellite.

He said it would follow the launch of a probe to orbit the Moon by 2007 and an unmanned lunar landing by 2010.


Wednesday, December 03, 2003

ESA - Science - Exploring space - Mars from 5.5 million kilometres: "3 December 2003
This picture was taken on 1 December 2003 from ESA's Mars Express spacecraft by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) under the responsibility of the Principal Investigator Prof. Gerhard Neukum.

It was processed by the DLR Institute for Planetary Research, also involved in the development of the camera, and by the Freie Universitaet, Berlin.
This picture shows the planet Mars as seen from a distance of about 5.5 million kilometres. This is a very unusual view of Mars because the planet is illuminated in a way never seen before from Earth.
The Sun shines on part of the western hemisphere, but more than a third of the Martian disc lies in darkness. The dark features at the top are part of the northern lowlands of Mars, where oceans possibly existed thousands of millions of years ago.
Credit: ESA "
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Mars Express looks at its target: "Mars Express looks at its target

By Helen Briggs
BBC News Online

Europe's first solo mission to another planet, Mars Express, has taken its first image of the Red Planet.

The picture was captured when the probe was about 5.5 million kilometres away.
Mars Express is nearing its destination after a six-month voyage from Earth and is due to go into orbit around the fourth planet on Christmas Day.

By then, it will have released the tiny British lander, Beagle 2, which will drop down on to the surface of Mars to look for signs of past or present life. "

Dennis E. Powell on Space Exploration on National Review Online: "December 03, 2003, 8:58 a.m.
Milky Way Days
Returning to the new frontier.

By Dennis E. Powell
When President Bush delivers a speech recognizing the centenary of heavier-than-air-powered flight December 17, it is expected that he will proffer a bold vision of renewed space flight, with at its center a return to the moon, perhaps even establishment of a permanent presence there. If he does, it will mean that he has decided the United States should once again become a space-faring nation. For more than 30 years America's manned space program has limited itself to low Earth orbit; indeed, everyone under the age of 31 — more than 125 million Americans — was born since an American last set foot on the moon."


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