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Mars Observer
Mars Observer Mission to Mars

Goals: Seventeen years after the successful Viking 1 and Viking 2 missions, Mars Observer was launched to make a detailed study of the Red Planet. The spacecraft, based on an Earth-orbiting communications satellite, which had been converted into an orbiter for Mars, carried a payload of science instruments designed to study the geology, geophysics and climate of Mars. The journey took 337 days.

Accomplishments: The spacecraft was about to begin pressurizing its fuel tanks in preparation for an orbit-insertion maneuver when its transmitters were turned off and the spacecraft was never heard from again. Before contact with the spacecraft was lost, approximately two months of total data from the gamma ray spectrometer was successfully collected, including spectral observations of one burst.

Key Dates
25 Sep 1992:  Launch (17:05:01 UT)
22 Aug 1993:  Contact Lost (01:00 UT)
27 Aug 1993:  End of Mission
Status: Mission Lost at Mars
Fast Facts
Mars Observer Facts Mars Observer was to observe Mars over the course of a Martian year (687 days).

The spacecraft's journey to Mars took a little less then one Earth year.

After a 17-year gap since its last mission to the Red Planet, the United States launched Mars Observer on 25 September 1992.
People Spotlight
Steve Squyres Steve Squyres
Steve is best known as principal Investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers, but he's contributed to many of the greatest robotic missions. Read More...
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Last Updated: 24 Jan 2011