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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Spirit Extends Arm and Takes First Close-Up Images of Martian Soil

Spirit has extended her robotic arm for the first time to examine a patch of fine-grained Martian soil, and joined forces with the European Space Agency's Mars Express to successfully conduct the first-ever, international, coordinated observation of the planet's atmosphere.

Spirit Set to Roll Off Lander Thursday

Spirit is up -- standing at full height on all six wheels -- and is ready to roll off the lander heading west by northwest, probably sometime early Thursday morning Earth time, according to the latest plan.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Lands on Red Planet, Returns First Images

Spirit -- NASA's first Mars Exploration Rover -- survived the 'six minutes of terror' entering and descending through the atmosphere to land safely -- and upright -- in Gusev Crater on the Red Planet. Just two hours after the confirmation signal of the landing, the first engineering data and images began streaming into the MER Mission Control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where Spirit and her twin, Opportunity were built.

NASA Begins Countdown to Spirit's Arrival on Mars

Spirit – the first of NASA's two robot geologists en route to the red Planet -- is “in “excellent” health, NASA and JPL scientists reported at a news briefing at JPL this afternoon, and the countdown to touch down on the Red Planet has begun.

No Icecaps at the Lunar Poles

New observations reported this week in the journal Nature have cast doubt on the theory that thick deposits of ground ice lie conveniently close to the surface in permanently shadowed crater floors at the lunar poles.

Researchers Discover Lakes on Titan

Recent radar observations of Saturn’s moon Titan have produced the first direct evidence that the second largest moon in the solar system may be hiding pools of liquid hydrocarbons underneath its smoggy atmosphere.

Scientists Detail Ambitious Goals of Mars Express

Scientists working on the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Mars Express detailed the mission's ambitious plan to study Mars from the top of its atmosphere to several kilometers beneath its surface, at a press conference in London, England last week.

The Stories Behind the Voyager Mission: Linda Morabito Kelly

Linda Morabito Kelly began working at Jet Propulsion Laboratories while still a student at the University of Southern California. In 1974, she accepted a fulltime position as an engineer in the Satellite Ephemeris Development and Orbit Determination section JPL.

The Stories Behind the Voyager Mission: Bruce Murray

Bruce C. Murray served as the only geologist on the team planning the Grand Tour, which was cancelled by NASA in 1972, but which led to Voyager the same year. He later became the Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a position he held from 1976 to 1982, the early glory years of the mission.

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