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Mars Polar Lander

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The Mars Polar Lander mission was a mission to begin answering the questions of whether life can exist on Mars, and if there was water on Mars where has it gone. To do this, the goal of the mission was to land near the South Martian pole during its summer. The focus of the program is to advance our understanding of the volatile and climate history of Mars through systematic mapping of the Mars seasonal cycles of weather, dust, water and carbon dioxide by remote sensing from orbit and through exploration in situ at a landed site on the layered terrain near the Martian south pole. The mission also carries the DS2 probe to sample beneath the sruface. The mission cost was $110 million, not including the launch and the DS2 probe.

Mission Timeline

  • Jan 03, 1999 - Launch from Cape Canaveral
  • Dec 03, 1999 - Mars Landing - lost communication
  • Dec 15, 1999 - Still no communication - MGS will image site to look for the spacecraft.


Visits since 10/99. Last Updated on December 15, 2001
Karen. Meech, Institute for Astronomy, UH
meech@ifa.hawaii.edu