In recent years, NASA, the United States’ space agency, has been dominating exploration of the solar system. At Mars, NASA has two craft in orbit (2001 Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter—plus the recently lost Mars Global Surveyor, and the two rovers Spirit and Opportunity on the surface), while Europe has the Mars Express. But as Stephen Battersby reports in New Scientist, Euprope is contemplating additional moon and Mars missions, including speculating on the possibility of human spaceflight.
Also, Bill Christensen at Space.com writes about a proposed partnership between Google and NASA. Google will help process the data and make it available to the public. Google doesn’t seem to derive any significant direct benefits, but it certainly isn’t making enemies by its continued support of science and nerdy topics in general.