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Russia aims for first conquest of Mars

MOSCOW — Russia on Wednesday launches a probe for Mars that aims to collect a chunk of a Martian moon and become Moscow’s first successful planetary mission since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Phobos-Grunt probe is to blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Zenit-2SB…

Are manned missions a waste of space?

PARIS – On Tuesday, the world will be awash with talk of courage and vision as it looks back on 50 years of manned space flight, a trail blazed by Yuri Gagarin’s 108-minute trip around the planet. But what if the past half-century has been just a cosmic waste of…