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Studying the Earth and Moon using several instruments.
The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft took this image of our home planet during its recent gravity assisting flyby. The spacecraft swept past the Earth on March 4/5 to get a speed boost on its way to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It studied the Earth and Moon using several instruments while it was in the neighbourhood and now the ESA has processed the images it sent back.
The next mission to make the journey to the Red Planet, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, has arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Engineers will assemble various components, and test everything to ensure it's ready for launch. If all goes well, the MRO will lift off in August atop a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket, and then make the journey to Mars. MRO will study both the surface and underground of Mars in tremendous detail, and survey potential future landing sites.
NASA has decided to push back the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery to July to give engineers more time to deal with some potential safety concerns with the return to flight. Managers are concerned about ice building up on the shuttle external tank, which could fall off and damage the orbiter during take off. The shuttle will be rolled back to the assembly building to make additional improvements. NASA is currently targeting a launch window of July 13 to 31.
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