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What's New in Lunar & Planetary Science

Comet Siding Spring will fly by Mars at a distance of about 140,000 km (87,000 miles) on Sunday, 19 October at 18:28 UT (2:28 p.m. EDT). Many of the spacecraft currently operating at Mars will be observing the comet. For more information, see the NASA Siding Spring Comet page.

The European Space Agency has announced November 12 as the target date for the Philae Lander to be released from the Rosetta spacecraft and land on comet 67 P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. For more information, see the ESA Press Release.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft fired its Liquid Apogee Motor on 24 September at 01:47:32 UT (7:17 a.m. local Indian time) for 24-minutes and entered a 76.7 hour, 366 x 80,000 km orbit around Mars.

The MAVEN mission successfully entered Mars orbit, completing its orbit insertion maneuver on September 22 at 02:24 UTC (September 21, 10:24 p.m. EDT). It will now begin a six-week commissioning phase. For more information, see the NASA Press Release.

This Day in Planetary and Lunar Exploration History

October 20

Launch of Zond 8 circumlunar Earth return mission.
Venera 9 becomes the first spacecraft to go into orbit around Venus.

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