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China's first lunar rover to land on moon Saturday

A space module carrying China's first lunar rover is scheduled to land on the moon Saturday evening, state media said, in a huge step for the Asian superpower's ambitious space programme. The spacecraft is expected to make touchdown at 9:40 pm (1340 GMT), state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said, 12 days after the Chang'e-3 mission blasted off on a Long March-3B carrier rocket.

Space station cooling breakdown may delay Orbital launch

NASA rushed Thursday to fix a breakdown in the cooling system at the International Space Station that may delay the launch next week of Orbital Sciences' first cargo mission. Engineers are still trying to figure out what caused the fault Wednesday in a flow valve that controls the temperature of the equipment aboard the station, said mission team manager Kenny Todd. The astronauts on board are "in good shape," and comfortable after the cooling system problem, which NASA has said posed no danger.

Mars colonization group plans unmanned mission in 2018

Washington, Dec 11 (EFE).- The non-profit organization that hopes to found a permanent human settlement on Mars in 2025 said it hired two prominent aerospace companies to study the idea of sending an unmanned lander to the red planet in 2018. Dutch-based Mars One is paying Lockheed Martin Corporation $256,000 to develop concepts for what would be the first privately funded expedition to Mars. The aerospace and defense giant built the vehicle used in NASA's successful Phoenix Mars mission, launched in 2007.

Mars One selects Lockheed Martin, SSTL to study first private Mars mission

Mars One selects Lockheed Martin, SSTL to study first private Mars mission WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Mars One, a Dutch-based non- profit organization that aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2025, on Tuesday announced its partnership with U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) for its first unmanned mission to Mars in 2018.

NASA Mars rover finds evidence of life-friendly ancient lake

By Irene Klotz SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Scientists have found evidence of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars well suited to support microbial life, the researchers said Monday. The lake, located inside Gale Crater where the rover landed in August 2012, likely covered an area 31 miles long and 3 miles wide, though its size varied over time.

Mars lake may have been friendly to microbes

A US space agency rover tooling around on the surface of Mars has found remnants of an ancient freshwater lake that may have supported tiny life forms, scientists said Monday. There is no water left in it, but drill tests and a chemical analysis of its fine-grained rocks by the Curiosity robot's science instruments suggest microbial life could have thrived there billions of years ago. The rocks contain signs of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur, and "would provide perfect conditions for simple microbial life," said the report in the journal Science.

Ancient fresh water lake found on Mars

Ancient fresh water lake found on Mars WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Researchers said on Monday they have found evidence that there was once an ancient fresh water lake on Mars that may have been able to support life. A team of researchers from the U.S. Curiosity rover mission, analyzed a set of sedimentary rock outcrops at a site named Yellowknife Bay in Gale Crater, where the six-wheeled science laboratory landed in August 2012.

Third time a charm: SpaceX launches commercial satellite

The private US company SpaceX said it successfully launched on Tuesday its first commercial satellite, designed to provide telecommunications services to Asian countries. It said the launch came after two delays in recent days because of glitches with the company's Falcon 9 rocket. On Tuesday it finally roared into space at 2241 GMT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SpaceX said in a statement. Its $100 million satellite was placed in orbit 14 minutes later.

China moon rover enters lunar orbit

China's first lunar rover entered the moon's orbit on Friday, state media reported, a key step towards the vessel's planned landing later this month. The rover -- known as Yutu, or Jade Rabbit -- reached lunar orbit late Friday, the official Xinhua news agency said, about 112 hours after it was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China. It is expected to touch down on the moon in mid-December to explore its surface and search for natural resources.

Third time a charm: SpaceX launches commercial satellite

The private US company SpaceX said it successfully launched on Tuesday its first commercial satellite, designed to provide telecommunications services to China and other Asian countries. It said the launch came after two delays in recent days because of glitches with the company's Falcon 9 rocket. On Tuesday it finally roared into space at 2241 GMT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SpaceX said in a statement. Its $100 million satellite was placed in orbit 14 minutes later.
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