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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter begins studying Mars

Posted on Sunday, March 12 2006 @ 22:03:29 CET by

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has arrived on Mars to begin its two-year mission to study the Martian atmosphere and surface. It is one of the most sophisticated spacecrafts sent to Mars yet and it will search the planet for water.

Getting into orbit is a bit tricky but it worked out well this time:
The spacecraft fired its six main engines at 4:24 p.m. ET and was captured by Mars' gravity. The burn lasted 27 minutes.

"Burn baby burn," a team member at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California said when the maneuver began.

Twenty-one minutes in, the spacecraft disappeared behind Mars, and was out of radio contact with mission control for a nerve-wracking half-hour.

At 5:16 p.m., the team erupted in cheers when a signal was received back from the craft.
More details over at CNN.



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