July 1st, 2004

It rained on Mars – 3bn years ago Agence France-Presse

Mars was not only awash with water, it also once had rainfall, according to a new French study. The evidence comes from infra-red imaging, which probed under dust deposited over the millions of years and found dense networks of dry valleys, whose branching bear the hallmarks of having been carved out by rain. The research, published in the US journal Science on Friday, could prompt a rewrite of the Martian history books, for it suggests the planet had a longer “summer” than anyone thought.

February 8th, 2004

Spirit drills first hole in Mars rock Agence France-Presse

The US Mars rover Spirit drilled a tiny, circular hole in a rock, a first in the history of exploring the planet, the US space agency NASA said Saturday. The hole, 2.65 millimeters (0.1 inch) deep and 45.5 millimetersinches) in diameter, was hailed as a significant achievement by scientists working on the Mars exploration mission.

January 21st, 2004

Time not right for Russia to launch Mars mission: official Agence France-Presse

Russia possesses the technology and skills to launch a manned mission to Mars but “the time is not right” for such a venture, a senior government official said Wednesday, dousing speculation that Russia might seek to match US plans to explore space.

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