The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced a new programme of Mars exploration that aims to proceed at a "more methodical and leisurely pace". Till now two missions have failed. Going by the new schedule, researchers will have to wait for at least a dozen years before they get samples of the real Martian soil. A Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been planned in 2005 and another unmanned lander in 2007. From then on, NASA will launch one Mars mission every 26 months and will alternate orbiter and lander missions ( New Scientist , Vol 168, No 2263).
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