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What's New in Lunar & Planetary Science

China's Chang'e 5 Test Vehicle has swung around the Moon and is now on its return to Earth. The spacecraft will release a capsule which will re-enter Earth's atmosphere and land near Huofutan in Inner Mongolia at roughly 22:40 UT (6:40 p.m. EDT) on October 31. (10:40 a.m. local Chinese time, Nov. 1).

Comet Siding Spring flew by Mars at a distance of about 139,500 km (87,000 miles) on Sunday, 19 October at 18:27 UT (2:27 p.m. EDT). Many of the spacecraft currently operating at Mars observed the comet, all were in good health following the comet's passage. 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.

This Day in Planetary and Lunar Exploration History

October 31

Michael Collins, command module pilot on Apollo 11, born in Rome, Italy.
Galileo Galilei pardoned by Pope John Paul II.

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