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Endeavour will set out to map the Earth this week.
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Courtesy of NASA

Endeavour Will Map the Earth
News story originally written on January 31, 2000

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to begin its mission today! The shuttle and crew will orbit Earth to make a detailed map of the planet. Over 80% of the planet's surface will be mapped, making this the first time a world map will be made from the same data.

NASA has had trouble getting this mission going. It was first scheduled for September, but faulty wiring delayed the mission until now. Last week there were more problems, this time with fuel pump seals. After replacing the seal, scientists say the shuttle is ready for launch.

The mission will use special radar equipment to penetrate through clouds. We currently have a better map of Venus than Earth, because intense cloud cover shields the surface. Weather will no longer be a factor.

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