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Mars Polar Lander
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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
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: 18 Jan 2011