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Satellites on Mars and Venus soon: NASA

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CHENNAI (PTI): US space agency NASA plans to send satellites to Mars and Venus to study chemical and geological parameters of the planets, Nobel laureate and NASA scientist John C Mather said on Tuesday.

"We have mission to Mars coming up in 2011, which is called Mars Science Lander. It is a very much larger package than the Rovers we have now," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

The scientist, who is here to deliver SRM University silver jubilee lecture, said "it (Mars Science Lander) can go further and has more technological laboratories to do chemical and geological tests over there."

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration already has 50 satellites in space including Chandra and Hubble, he said, adding NASA also plans to send a satellite to Venus to explore it. "You know a satellite is already orbiting Mercury in this regard," he said.

On NASA's other future missions, Mather, who won a noble prize in 2006 in Physics, said there were also plans to send an orbiter to Europa which was Jupiter's Moon.

"It's a fascinating moon of Jupiter with water floating on top of the rocky core. There is ice on the surface of water and there is possibility the ice can chemically support life.

Since it's too far away from the sun, life photosynthetically is not possible," he said.

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