Though all eyes are on NASA’s anticipated landing of the Curiosity rover on the Martian surface in just a few days (which is hardly a done deal), space agencies in other countries have not been resting on their laurels.
For example, the Indian Space Research Organisation is anticipating final approval for its plan to send a satellite to the red planet. That mission would launch in November 2013 and travel for 300 days before reaching orbit. The Indian probe is designed to study Mars’ climate and geology from orbit.
New Scientist reports that the Iran Space Agency has plans to launch a rhesus monkey into space some time in the next month.
Meanwhile, the China National Space Administration plans to land its first-ever probe on the moon in the second half of 2013. China has had a successful string of recent space missions, including their own Earth-orbiting space lab and the Chang’e 1 lunar orbiter.
The European Space Agency also has its eyes on the Moon. Universe Today says the international organization is set to put an unmanned lander on the lunar surface in 2018, hoping to study the relatively obscure lunar south pole.
Even NASA isn’t waiting to drop another Mars mission in the queue. Set to launch in 2013, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbital sensor will study how the planet’s atmosphere interacts with the Sun.
But for now, if you’d like a break from the olympics, make sure you check out “Everything you need to know to catch the Curiosity rover landing.”
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