The latest images from the Wide Field Planetary Camera on the Hubble Space Telescope, since its servicing in orbit by the crew of the STS82 mission, show changes between Mars' northern-hemisphere spring and summer. The annual north-polar, carbon dioxide frost cap is vanishing, revealing the smaller, permanent, water-ice cap. Also revealed are clouds, dust storms and other changes. The Hubble is being used to monitor dust-storm activity to support the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft, en route to a 4 July landing, with the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. NASA reports that the high-resolution mirrors of the next space telescope, the Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility instrument, for launch in 1998, "-performed beyond expectation" in tests at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama.

Source: Flight International