August 9th, 2005

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Today in History: Space Shuttle Discovery

As gnomi already reported here, Discovery landed safely this morning at 8:11:22 AM EDT at Edwards Air Force Base.

The question on many people's minds is: where do we go from here? Is the shuttle fleet permanently grounded? Will there be a new spacecraft designed and built for the 21st century? Will we ever manage to colonize the solar system, and then maybe the galaxy?

But for now...welcome home, Discovery.
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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to Launch Tomorrow

With all the news about Discovery landing successfully, people may not be aware that NASA has a launch planned for tomorrow. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is set to lift off from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, on an Atlas V launch vehicle. Information on the launch can be found here.

From a NASA press release: "The mission's first launch opportunity window is 7:54 to 9:39 a.m. EDT, Wednesday. If the launch is postponed, additional launch windows open daily at different times each morning through August. For trips from Earth to Mars, the planets move into good position for only a short period every 26 months. The best launch position is when Earth is about to overtake Mars in their concentric racing lanes around the sun."

Starting in November 2006, the MRO will gather data on the history and distribution of Martian water.

Let's not forget all the other important stuff NASA is doing...