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January 25, 2004

Rover, Heal Thyself

Any doctor will tell you that one of the best sources of information on a sick patient is the patient himself. That's certainly true for NASA's ailing Mars rover Spirit. Just before noon on Friday, the rover, which has been in "safe" mode since Wednesday, sent to the orbiting Mars Odyssey probe a surprise burst of information, including data on its power subsystem. That's heady stuff for engineers at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena (CA). The rover sent 73 megabits of information in all. The transmission was interesting, since JPL sent Spirit a command to "sleep," which it seems as if Spirit totally ignored. JPL has said Spirit's flight software just isn't working right, in spite of commands to reboot the probe's system at least 60 times.

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European Mars Probe Reveals Strong Evidence Of Water

As American scientists struggle to contact their Spirit rover and Europeans have virtually given up hope of finding their Mars lander, Beagle 2, the EU orbiter Mars Express has confirmed what was long suspected about the Red Planet: There was once an abundance of water. "I think we can firmly say 'yes, there was water acting on the surface of Mars," said European Space Agency scientist Gerhard Neukum.

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FAA: Florida Pilot 'In Control Until Last Second'

Examiner Details Last Moment Of Flight

His prop windmilling uselessly, Larry "Mike" Bradshaw fought heroically to save his Cessna 150 until the very end. That word comes from FAA Flight Examiner Walt Bradshaw (no relation to Larry). Walt Bradshaw told a memorial service Wednesday night that the certified flight instructor aboard the small 150 had extended his flaps and tried to stretch his glide after apparent engine failure near Venice Municipal Airport (FL) Saturday night. Both Mike Bradshaw and his student, 57-year old Miguel Hernandez, were killed in the accident, which went undiscovered for 19 hours. This, in spite of at least one 911 call moments after the plane went down in thick woods. "Mike did everything he could in his power to make that plane land," Bra

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AR TFR: 01/26

Yet Another VIP TFR NOTAM: 4/0552 Issued: 01/23/2004 20:11 Effective: 01/26/2004 15:15 - 01/26/2004 19:30 State: AR Facility: ZME - MEMPHIS (ARTCC),TN. Type: VIP Description: LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS, JANUARY 26, 2004 LOCAL.

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Student Pilot In Critical Condition

Jeff Lewis, 32, is in critical condition at the University of New Mexico Hospital after his B36 crashed into a police station about 400 yards short of the runway at Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington (NM) Thursday night. Ironically, Lewis was saved by the very firefighters with whom he used to work. Fire officials say Lewis left the department five months ago to pursue an aviation career. He was training with Mesa Airlines.

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Bankrupt: Great Plains Airlines

The Great Plains Airlines ticket counter is abandoned at St. Louis MidAmerica Airport. Passengers are stranded. Another airline has gone belly-up. Great Plains filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late Friday, saying it wants to continue service in some form. Company President David Johnson says the carrier plans to commence operations again sometime in March. The airline says it will continue charter service, but did not elaborate.

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Preparing For The Unthinkable

Lajes Field's capabilities to save a downed space shuttle crew will be put to the test during a daylong exercise here January 30. The exercise involves American and Portuguese forces and a Defense Department agency for space flight. The combined event joins 65th Air Base Wing and Portuguese Air Base 4 emergency forces at this base in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Joint fire, medical, search and rescue, as well as other forces here will take part testing a wealth of capabilities, according to Portuguese air force Maj. Albano Coutinho, chief of the air operations center here.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (01.25.04)

"I think we can firmly say 'yes, there was water acting on the surface of Mars.'" Source: Gerhard Neukum, a European Space Agency scientist, on spectrographic images of Mars taken by the ESA's Mars Express. In spite of losing its lander, Beagle 2, Mars Express is sending back revolutionary pictures of the Martian surface. Its eventual mission: gauge just how much water remains on the Red Planet.

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