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Spirit lands on Mars
Posted: Sun, Jan 4, 2004, 1:22 AM ET (0622 GMT)
Mars Exploration Rover (NASA/JPL) NASA's Spirit Mars rover has successfully landed on Mars, project officials report. The spacecraft landed on Mars at 11:35 pm EST Saturday (0435 GMT Sunday) after a six-minute descent phase. Spacecraft controllers had an intermittent signal around that time indicating the spacecraft was bounding across the surface on its airbags, but it took about 15 minutes to finally get a strong signal indicating the spacecraft had come to rest and was in good condition. The spacecraft came to rest on its base petal, simplifying the process of deflating the airbags and unfolding the petals. The first images from the spacecraft on the surface could be transmitted as soon as later today, although it will be about nine days before the rover leaves the lander itself.
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