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European Mars probe arrives at launch site

3 January 2016 Stephen Clark

Three heavy-duty Antonov cargo planes flew components of Europe’s ExoMars orbiter and lander from Italy to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazkhastan last week, setting up for a March 14 launch toward the red planet.

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Curiosity’s Martian nitrogen find raises possibility of ancient life

31 March 2015 Kerry Hebden

Nitrogen, in the form of nitric oxide (one nitrogen atom and one oxygen atom), has been detected for the first time on the surface of Mars by a team of researchers using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover, adding to the growing speculation that life could have once flourished on ancient Mars.

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NASA spacecraft to get bonus time studying Mercury

29 December 2014 Stephen Clark

Running low on fuel after completing the first global survey of Mercury, NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft could get an extra month of time at the solar system’s innermost planet thanks to a crafty new way of using helium gas to temporarily forestall the mission’s end next year.