NASA craft prepares to enter orbit around Mars

March 10, 2006 23:32


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After a seven-month journey, a NASA spacecraft closed in on Mars Friday on a mission to examine the Red Planet in unprecedented detail from low orbit. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, loaded with the most sophisticated scientific instruments ever flown to another planet, has traveled 310 million miles (499 million kilometers) for this rendezvous. The spacecraft was set to fire its engines Friday afternoon, abruptly slowing down so it can be captured into the planet's orbit. If successful, the Reconnaissance Orbiter will be the fourth eye on the Martian sky, joining the ranks of NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey and the European Space Agency's Mars Express.

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