Successful Martian Landing

I’ve got to start following this space stuff more carefully. The U.S. Martian rover, Spirit, has successfully landed and started sending photos back to earth. This is an artist’s conception of Spirit on Mars:
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This isn’t the first time we’ve landed a spacecraft of some kind on Mars, but it isn’t easy to do: a recent effort by the European Union appears to have failed. NASA has a very interesting site on the current Mars exploration here. There is some cool stuff, especially if you have broadband. The movie trailer-like films in the “multimedia” section are especially fun.
Here are a few of the first photos to come back from the rover. These are black and white; the first color shots are expected tonight.
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This Associated Press story has a good summary of the mission and yesterday’s landing, but note the uninspired headline: “Photos From Mars Show Rocky Landscape.”

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