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Thursday, February 27, 2003

US Mars Tracking Station Saved

The 70-meter antenna as fires approach.
The 70-meter antenna as fires approach.
The United States thanked the Tidbinbilla Volunteer Bushfire Brigade and the staff of the Canberra Deep Space Communications Centre for bravely defending the southern hemisphere's largest tracking station from a wild bushfire that swept the Canberra region.

The tracking facility is one of only three stations in the NASA Deep Space Network and responsible for tracking many Mars and other space missions and relaying data to other NASA facilities. If it had been lost, it would have been very difficult if not impossible to ensure total coverage of the current and future missions on Mars and elsewhere.

The Mount Stromlo Observatory nearby, which was world famous, was not as lucky. The observatory lost five telescopes and was devastated by the raging fires.

(More info: Herald Sun, Mount Stromlo Observatory Fire Resources)

- posted by Brian @ 18:17 EST