National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Missions
Mars Polar Lander
Missions to Mars
 By Target   By Name   By Decade 
Beyond Our Solar System Our Solar System Sun Mercury Venus Moon Earth Mars Dwarf Planets Dwarf Planets Dwarf Planets Asteroids Comets Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Kuiper Belt
 
 Past 
 Present 
 Future 
 Concepts 
Mars Polar Lander
Mars Polar Lander Mission to Mars

Goals: Mars Polar Lander was to be the first-ever landing in the polar regions of Mars. The lander was equipped with cameras, a robotic arm and instruments to measure the composition of Martian soil. It also carried the Deep Space 2 microprobes which were to pentrate and sample the Martian surface.

Accomplishments: None. Both missions were lost when Mars Polar Lander crashed on Mars. An investigation found the most likely cause of the mishap was a false signal that the spacecraft had landed when in fact it had only deployed its legs and was still descending. The signal shut down the main engines and the spacecraft crashed into Mars at high speed.


Key Dates
3 Dec 1999:  Contact Lost (20:00 UT)
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Mars Polar Lander Facts Mars Polar Lander was to be the first mission to land in Mars' south polar region (right).

Contact was lost with the spacraft prior to atmospheric entry.

The backup spacecraft for Mars Polar Lander was successfully used in the 2008 Phoenix mission to Mars.
People Spotlight
Mike Malin Mike Malin
"I've watched rockets take off, and seen things I've built fly to other planets. How much more fun does one need?" Read More...
Headlines
Links
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 18 Jan 2011