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July 2, 2012 - Making Tracks on Mars

2 Jul 2012, 04:00 UTC
July 2, 2012 - Making Tracks on Mars
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The Week in Space July 2-8, 2012 Making Tracks on Mars In 1976, when two Viking spacecraft landed safely on Mars, few could have predicted that it would be nearly two decades before another spacecraft followed them successfully to the surface of the Red Planet. Fifteen years ago this week, Mars Pathfinder bounced onto the chilly surface of Mars, protected by inflatable landing bags. Pathfinder soon righted itself, unfolded its three solar panel petals, and deployed the remote-controlled Sojourner rover—the first wheeled vehicle to travel on Mars. The eleven kilogram (twenty-five pound) Sojourner operated for eighty-four days—twelve times its planned life—and traveled over 100 meters (300 feet). This view of the lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, was taken by Sojourner after it descended the ramp onto the surface.Image credit: NASA / JPL / Caltech Weekly CalendarJuly 2-8, 2012Holidays - Sky Events - Space History Monday 21985: European Space Agency launches Giotto probe to study Halley’s Comet Tuesday 3Pluto 1° north of MoonFull Moon 2:52 PM ET 1935: Harrison Schmitt born Wednesday 4Independence Day Earth at aphelion 1054: Crab Nebula supernova observed1997: Mars Pathfinder lands on Mars2005: Deep Impact probe collides with comet Tempel 12006: STS-121 Discovery launched Thursday ...

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