The launch into the Mars orbit of a NASA interplanetary spacecraft, 2001 Mars Odysseus, which incorporates a Russian device called KHEND, is one more example of international cooperation in the peaceful exploration of outer space, it was said on Tuesday at the Russian Foreign Ministry's press and information department. The scientific payload was successfully orbited on October 24. KHEND is designed to study the composition of the Martian surface and to search for areas with increased content of "underground" water and ice. "Such areas," it was stressed at Russia's Foreign Ministry, are of particular interest for future unmanned exploratory stations, since water is an essential resource for ensuring their stay on Mars and their return to the Earth". The device has been developed at the Institute of Space Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences on orders from the Russian Aerospace Agency. Mars studies involving the use of the Russian instrument will be conducted in 2001-2004, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
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