Blanket Could be Blocking Surveyor’s Hinge
Engineers are trying to determine what’s causing the malfunctioning hinge on the Mars Global Surveyor – the latest suspect is a thermal blanket that could be restricting the hinge’s movement. Whether or not they fix the problem, Surveyor will start a mapping mission of Mars next week.
Mir Moving to Higher Orbit
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Plans are being drawn up by Russian space officials to move Mir to a higher orbit. This indicates Russia’s willingness to continue operating the ancient spacestation, even though NASA is pressuring them to abandon it, and focus development on the International Space Station.
Scientists Search for Extreme Life
Scientists are travelling to Antarctica to find life living in extreme conditions around our South Pole – such as creatures that dwell in thermal vents, 4 miles under the surface of the ocean. The research study is part of the National Science Foundation’s “Life in Extreme Environments” (LExEn) program.
May Will Bring Mars Closest in 9 Years
A rare astronomical event will occur in May – Mars will be the closest it ever gets, only 52.8 million miles. In addition, the Red Planet is in opposition, which means its face is completely lit up by the Sun. Amateur astronomers will be able to see normally obscure features like the polar caps and canyons.