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A Year in Review...
News story originally written on December 30, 1997

Space activity in the last year can be described as nothing less than spectacular! 1997 in space - people are saying this year is second only to 1969 when the U.S. first landed a man on the Moon.

Hang on to your hats as we look at the top discoveries and missions that took place in 1997. Use the links to find out more detailed information about these events!

To start off with, there were eight successful shuttle missions launched and landed by NASA. These missions included microgravity research aboard the shuttle, fixing the Hubble Space Telescope, and preparing for the International Space Station. The new and improved Hubble telescope sure had a fantastic year! The astronomers kept the telescope busy with anything from photographing Mars to researching globular clusters in more detail. The ESA/NASA SOHO satellite also had a busy year. It tracked solar storms and found streams of plasma flowing underneath the Sun's surface.

Possibly the most well-followed and successful mission of the year was the Mars Pathfinder mission. The world watched with curiousity as the rover clambored around on the Martian surface. You know you're a real space-nut this year if you became the proud owner of a Mattel Hot Wheels JPL Sojourner Rover action pack! The Cassini satellite was also launched. It is on its way to Saturn, a 2.2 billion-mile journey!

This year also provided enough material for the makings of a movie (remember, you heard it here first!). The Mir space station seemed to have its share of trouble. Computer failure and oxygen leakages seemed like everyday events compared to the day a cargo ship crashed into the ailing Mir station causing the loss of power and the life support systems. Then again, maybe all of those incidences on Mir were somehow El Nino's fault or maybe it was those pesky snowballs entering the Earth's atmosphere?

1997 is certainly a year to be remembered. Is it to be followed by an equally exciting year? Already 1998 promises to provide the launch of the Lunar Prospector and the first piece of the International Space Station. Stay tuned!

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