Buoyed by a successful landing on Mars by a robot explorer, US President George Bush plans a major announcement on space policy next week that envisions sending Americans back to the moon and ultimately to Mars. Nearly a year after the shuttle Columbia exploded on re-entering the atmosphere, sending NASA into a deep spell of melancholy, Bush is expected to outline a sweeping vision of US space leadership, officials and congressional aides said on Thursday.
US plans to send Americans to Mars Aljazeera
Christmas landing for Mars probe Aljazeera
British probe the size of an open umbrella was due to land on Mars on Thursday and start trying to answer a question which has fascinated mankind for centuries – is there life on the red planet? Beagle 2, which weighs just 34 kg, is scheduled to open its panoply of parachutes and airbags and float down to the surface of Mars just before 0300 GMT Christmas Day.
Two US space probes launched to Mars this year have not been affected by recent solar storms and will arrive as scheduled at the red planet on 4 January, 2004. Spirit, the first of the probes launched, made its third flight path correction this week, in a manoeuvre that involved igniting its engines for some two minutes, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.