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Tuesday, April 12, 2011
MARS ROVER'S 'GAGARIN' MOMENT APPLAUDED EXPLORATION
A flat, light-toned rock on Mars visited by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover in 2005 informally bears the name of the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, who rode into orbit in the Soviet Union's Vostok-1 spacecraft on April 12, 1961.
The team using Opportunity to explore the Meridiani Planum region of Mars since 2004 chose "Gagarin" for what they would call the rock that the rover examined beside "Vostok" crater. A target for close-up examination on Gagarin is called "Yuri."To commemorate Gagarin's flight, a color image of the rock on Mars has been posted,here. The image combines frames taken through three different filters by Opportunity's panoramic camera.