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What's New in Lunar & Planetary Science

Mars is NOT making a close approach to Earth this August, as is being claimed in a widely circulated email. The close approach in question, with Mars appearing as a very bright point, occurred in 2003.

The two newly discovered moons of Pluto have been named Nix and Hydra by the IAU. For more information, see the IAU Press Release.

New Horizons passed by main belt asteroid JF56 at a distance of 101,867 km on 13 June. Spacecraft instruments successfully tracked the asteroid as the spacecraft flew by. For more information see the New Horizons news.

This Day in Planetary and Lunar Exploration History

August 20

1975
Launch of the Viking 1 Orbiter/Lander mission to Mars.
1977
Launch of Voyager 2 mission to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

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