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PARIS -- The European comet-chasing spacecraft Rosetta swept close by Mars overnight, coming within just 250 kilometers (155 miles) of the red planet and using Martian gravity to swing its course onward, the European Space Agency said here on Sunday.
The billion-euro ($1.3 billion) Rosetta, launched in 2004 on a 10-year voyage of some seven billion kilometers, passed Mars between 3:00 and 3:40 am (0240 GMT) and took a series of pictures of the planet, the agency (ESA) said in a statement.