Martian Invasion

Probing lively puzzles on the Red Planet

By Ron Cowen, 15:49 PM April 15, 2008

Just 2 months ago, Mars loomed high in the sky, its ruddy countenance so close that anyone with a backyard telescope could make out the planet's white south-polar cap and a central smudge known as Syrtis Major. Not in 60,000 years had Mars and Earth been so close, and they won't be again for another 2 centuries. But even as the two planets now drift slowly apart, three envoys from Earth are racing to the Red Planet.

If all goes according to plan, the European Space Agency's Mars Express will ...

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