December 7, 1999 |
Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists controlling the Mars Polar Lander failed early this morning in what was considered the last, best hope for contacting the spacecraft. Beginning at 12:20 a.m. today, flight controllers tried to establish contact with the lander's UHF antenna using a signal relayed through the orbiting Mars Global Explorer. Previous attempts have focused on direct communication using the lander's medium-gain antenna, and controllers hoped the new approach would be successful.
January 4, 1999 |
A Mars lander equipped with a robot arm and shovel rocketed away Sunday on a 470-million-mile quest to uncover frozen water near the planet's South Pole. NASA's Mars Polar Lander took off aboard a Boeing rocket at 3:21 p.m. The rain that managers had feared stayed away, allowing NASA to use the launch window despite an overcast sky. Less than an hour later, the final rocket motor fired, kicking the Polar Lander out of Earth's orbit and putting it on an 11-month course for Mars.
May 6, 1999 |
After vain attempts to free a jammed antenna, the Mars Global Surveyor resumes the mapping of the red planet today in an effort to eke out as much of its original mission as possible. The equipment problems that have crippled the craft's ability to communicate with Earth could eventually cause the Jet Propulsion Laboratory-run mission to lose half the data it was designed to produce, officials said.
October 24, 2001 |
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft appeared to successfully enter orbit late Tuesday around the Red Planet, where the space agency suffered back-to-back failures on its previous two tries. Engineers and scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena received preliminary indication shortly before 8 p.m. that a programmed engine firing had slowed the spacecraft and allowed Mars to capture it into an egg-shaped orbit. Mission control at the lab erupted in cheers. "It's great.
August 13, 2005 |
A school-bus sized spacecraft carrying the largest telescope ever installed in a planetary probe blasted off early Friday morning from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, beginning a seven-month journey to the Red Planet.
August 12, 2005 |
NASA postponed the liftoff of a spacecraft to Mars on Thursday after a glitch popped up in the computer software used for monitoring the fueling of the launch rocket. The problem with sensors and software that measure the amount of fuel being loaded into the rocket appeared minutes before liftoff. NASA rescheduled the launch for today, three days after the shuttle Discovery returned to Earth.
June 4, 2005 |
NASA is moving ahead with plans to put a long-armed lander on Mars to probe its icy north pole and search for possible signs of life, the space agency said Thursday. The $386-million Phoenix Mars is scheduled to touch down in May 2008. The stationary probe will use its robotic arm to dig into the icy terrain and scoop up soil samples to analyze.
April 9, 2005 |
NASA has approved up to 18 more months of operations by the twin rovers that have discovered evidence of a watery past on Mars. The extension covers operations until September 2006, NASA said Tuesday. Both of the solar-powered, six-wheel robot geologists landed on the Red Planet in January 2004 and have completed their three-month prime missions and 11 months of mission extensions. The space agency did not announce the cost of the mission extension.
December 24, 2005 |
Two new studies are challenging the notion that the desolate Martian plains once brimmed with salty pools of water that could have supported some form of life. The studies, published in the current issue of the journal Nature, argue that layered rock outcrops probed by NASA's Opportunity rover appear to have formed from volcanic ash that reacted with small traces of acidic water and sulfur dioxide gas, said geochemist Thomas McCollom of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
December 1, 2005 |
Using sophisticated radar aboard the European Mars Express spacecraft, scientists have for the first time peered into the heart of Mars, uncovering ancient geological structures and reservoirs of ice more than a mile beneath the arid surface. "We're looking at the third dimension on Mars, something no other mission has done before," Agustin Chicarro, project scientist for the European Space Agency, said during a news conference Wednesday from the agency's Paris headquarters.