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NASA is planning on sending rovers to Mars.
NASA is planning on sending rovers to crawl around the surface of Mars for the foreseeable future, but there's only so much terrain they can explore. Global Aerospace Corporation is proposing a future balloon mission that would float just a few kilometres above the surface of Mars, and explore a much larger territory in tremendous detail. The balloon would trail a wing beneath that would work like a rudder, and allow it to steer itself in the Martian winds.
The massive Keck Observatory at the top of Hawaii's Mauna Kea has learned a new trick: it can block the light from stars to see faint objects near them. This will be an invaluable tool for analyzing young star systems, since planetary disks are often impossible to see next to the dazzling light of a star. This new instrument is called a "nuller", and it's able to reduce the light from a star by a factor of 100 times. Similar technology will be used in future planet hunting missions to see dim planets lurking beside their stars.
Cassini made its first flyby of Saturn's Moon Hyperion last week, and took this amazing photograph. The spacecraft got within 500 km (310 miles), and you can clearly see how unusual this spongy-looking Moon is. scientists think that Hyperion is little more than a pile of rubble, loosely held together by its own gravity because much of its mass is just empty space. Hyperion is only 266 kilometers (165 miles) across, has an irregular shape, and spins in a chaotic rotation.
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