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Mars-bound craft preps for Earth swingby

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posted on Jun, 17 2003 @ 04:21 PM
I am sure it will die before it makes orbit... Let me know if you agree.

TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Five years late, low on fuel and with its heating system on the blink, Japan's first Mars-bound probe -- the 11 billion yen (US$88 million) Nozomi, or "Hope" -- appears to be in serious trouble.

Mission controllers trying to keep the mission alive are to face a major test on Thursday, when Nozomi is scheduled to make its second swingby of Earth. The maneuver is intended to use the Earth's gravity as a slingshot to send the probe on its final trajectory to Mars.

Experts admit the probe is limping.

"We are doing everything we can, but we don't know whether we will be able to succeed," Osamu Shimamoto, of the Education Ministry's Space Policy Division, said Tuesday. "We are praying that this swingby will work."

A failure for the mission, one of several from around the world now aimed at the Red Planet, would be a great disappointment for Japan's space program, which has been struggling with cost overruns and an apathetic public.

posted on Jun, 17 2003 @ 05:27 PM
Isnt it strange that we cant seem to get a probe anywhere near Mars lately???

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