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SETI Institute Selected as Astrobiology Lead Team

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

The SETI Institute has been chosen as a new lead team for NASA's Astrobiology Institute (NAI), the international research consortium coordinated through NAI's offices at NASA's Ames Research Center. NASA Ames is a long-standing partner of the SETI Institute in the search for life on other worlds. The SETI Institute is one of twelve new teams that were selected, each of whom will receive five-year awards at an average annual funding level of one million dollars. The SETI Institute's winning proposal included a variety of research projects examining global-scale processes that have shaped, and been shaped by, the interaction between life and its environment.

More: SETI - SETI Institute Selected as Astrobiology Lead Team

Rover 'Spirit' Headed for Mars

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

A NASA robotic geologist named Spirit began its seven-month journey to Mars at 1:58:47 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (10:58:47 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time) June 10, 2003, when its Delta II launch vehicle thundered aloft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The spacecraft, first of a twin pair in NASA's Mars Exploration Rover project, separated successfully from the Delta's third stage about 36 minutes after launch, while over the Indian Ocean. Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., received a signal from the spacecraft at 2:48 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (11:48 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time) via the Canberra, Australia, antenna complex of NASA's Deep Space Network. All systems are operating as expected.

More: NASA - NASA's 'Spirit' Rises On Its Way To Mars

More: NASA - Where is Spirit Now? Track the progress of Mars Rover Spririt's journey to the Red Planet

Link: NASA - Mars Exploration Rover Mission website

Link: NASA - Girl With Dreams Names Mars Rovers 'Spirit' and 'Opportunity'

Mars Express En Route to the Red Planet

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

The European Mars Express spaceprobe has been placed successfully in a trajectory that will take it beyond the terrestrial environment and on the way to Mars – getting there in late December. This first European Space Agency probe to head for another planet will enter an orbit around Mars, from where it will perform detailed studies of the planet’s surface, its subsurface structures and its atmosphere. It will also deploy Beagle 2, a small autonomous station which will land on the planet, studying its surface and looking for possible signs of life, past or present.

More: ESA - Mars Express en route for the Red Planet

Mars Exploration Rover MER-A Scheduled to Launch June 8

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

MER-A is planned for launch at 2:05:55 p.m. or 2:44:07 p.m. EDT, June 8, 2003 from Cape Canaveral. The mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. The program seeks to take advantage of each launch opportunity to go to Mars, which comes around every 26 months as the planets move around the Sun. Scheduled for two separate launches, the two rovers will be delivered in landing craft to separate sites on Mars in January 2004.

More: NASA KSC - MER Mission News

Link: NASA Direct - Web broadcasting site will feature special MER programming, including a pre-launch program

Link: NASA TV - Tune in to see the launch as it happens

Link: USGS Astro - Mars Exploration Rover Project

Link: USGS Astro - Mars Pathfinder and 2003 Rover Missions