February 19, 2000 |
Engines controlling the final descent of NASA's Mars Polar Lander might have shut off prematurely, sending the $165-million probe crashing to the surface, according to a new theory that is being investigated. Engineers have found a design flaw that could have caused the spacecraft's engines to switch off while the probe was still more than 100 feet above the surface. A fall from that altitude would have destroyed the spindly probe.
February 17, 2000 |
The Mars Polar Lander is officially lost--again. Hopes were raised late last month that the probe had signaled Earth--and a worldwide flurry of activity began to listen for and decode radio transmissions from space--but NASA officials have once again given up their search for the errant spacecraft. Stanford telescope operators thought they had detected a faint signal that could have come from the lander in January.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 1, 2000 |
Astronomers who spent the weekend sifting through radio transmissions from space say they have detected no signals from the missing Mars Polar Lander. But project leaders said Monday that they are still trying to contact the craft and have turned to astronomers worldwide for help. Scientists say that if the lander is still operational, they would not expect a signal back before Friday, and a clear indication might not come for several more days. The $165-million craft was lost Dec.
January 26, 2000 |
Jet Propulsion Laboratory mission managers Tuesday sent another set of commands to Mars to investigate the possibility that a signal detected by a radio dish at Stanford University came from the Mars Polar Lander. The commands, at 10 a.m., will instruct the lander, if it is operating, to send a signal directly to the antenna at Stanford today about 1 p.m. The Stanford receiving station will listen during the window today to see if it picks up a signal that could originate from Mars.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 26, 1999 |
The fervent hopes of scientists--including these planetary experts at UCLA--for a successful landing at the south pole of Mars were dashed when the $165-million Mars Polar Lander vanished without a trace Dec. 3 as it began its descent to the surface of the Red Planet. It was the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's second failed Mars mission of the year. In September, JPL's $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter disappeared as it began to orbit the fourth planet.
December 12, 1999 |
Friday, Dec. 3, 1999-- Science officer's log, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., 12:15 p.m., Earth time. First chance for NASA engineers to receive contact from Mars Polar Lander, scheduled to touch down today at Martian south pole. All systems go. JPL to MPL: Come in, please, Polar Lander. Awaiting your signal. MPL: (No response.) JPL to MPL: Rise and shine, MPL. Confirm landing, please. MPL: (No response.) JPL: Phone home, MPL. Operators standing by. MPL: (No response.