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Mars lander on course for Monday touchdown

25 November 2018 William Harwood

After a six-month voyage from Earth, NASA’s InSight Mars lander, streaking through space at at some 12,300 mph, will slam into the thin martian atmosphere Monday to begin a nail-biting six-and-a-half-minute descent to the surface, kicking off a billion-dollar mission to probe the red planet’s hidden interior.

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Ariane 5 launches two satellites on 7-year voyage to Mercury

21 October 2018 William Harwood

A powerful European Ariane 5 rocket blasted off from French Guiana late Friday and boosted a pair of satellites into space for a seven-year plunge into the inner solar system, a voyage requiring seven planetary flybys to slow down enough in the sun’s gravitational clutches to slip into orbit around hellish Mercury.