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Mars Exploration Rover Landing Sites

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Mars experts have been doggedly culling through some 185-candidate sites, carefully plotting out landing ellipses within the terrain. In October 2001, ideal spots to land the rovers were whittled down to four top sites and two backups. Currently, the experts are looking closely at the weather patterns on Mars for the proposed sites, because high winds can threaten the success of a landing.

More: Space.com - Rover Landing Spots - Blowing In The Wind

Link: USGS Astro - MER Landing Site Mapping, maps, information, and links

Link: USGS Astro - MER Athena Science Package

Amazing Planetary Gathering

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

A grand and beautiful lineup of all the bright naked-eye planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn - is continuing in the western sky at dusk. Throughout April and May these five worlds will form and reform new patterns as they move against the background stars. All five of these planets (plus the Moon) will be clustered within 33° of sky on the evening of May 14th.

More: Sky & Telescope - A Rare Dance of the Planets

More: Space.com - Rare Planet Alignment in April and May

Link: Sky & Telescope - interactive sky chart