Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hopes Fade For Silent Mars Polar Lander

Date:
December 7, 1999
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Mission controllers for NASA's Mars Polar Lander acknowledge that they hold out very little hope of communicating with the spacecraft, but they vow to learn from the experience and continue exploring the Red Planet.

Mission controllers for NASA's Mars Polar Lander acknowledge that they hold out very little hope of communicating with the spacecraft, but they vow to learn from the experience and continue exploring the Red Planet.

Related Articles


"The Mars Polar Lander flight team played its last ace," said the lander's project manager Richard Cook of JPL following an unsuccessful attempt early Tuesday morning to get the lander to talk to Earth via NASA's currently orbiting Mars Global Surveyor.

Cook said the team will continue trying to communicate with the lander for another two weeks or so, but that expectations for success are remote. Nonetheless, Cook praised the flight team for its heroic attempts to contact the spacecraft, even sleeping on the floors of their offices at times. "We're certainly disappointed, but we're extremely determined to recover from this and go on."

The next communication attempt will take place late Tuesday afternoon, when a 46-meter (about 150-foot) antenna at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., will listen for a signal from the lander's UHF antenna. Engineers will command the spacecraft to use its medium-gain antenna on Wednesday to begin a scan of the entire sky. During the scan, the antenna is being asked to bend and stretch in every possible direction, in essence "craning its neck" in an effort to be heard by mission controllers on Earth.

Engineers are also considering a plan to command Mars Global Surveyor to fly over the landing site for Mars Polar Lander in coming weeks and take pictures of the area in hopes of spotting the spacecraft.

The Deep Space 2 microprobes that accompanied Mars Polar Lander have also been silent, and project manager Sarah Gavit said she couldn't envision any failure scenario in which the batteries could still hold a charge after four days on Mars.

"Just getting the probes to the launch pad was a measure of success," Gavit said, pointing out that as part of NASA's New Millennium program, the probes were designed to develop and test new technologies in preparation for future missions.

Review boards will be set up within JPL and at NASA to study the cause of the apparent loss and explore ways to prevent a recurrence.

"What we're trying to do is very, very difficult," Cook said. "We hope people, and children in particular, will see from this experience that the mark of a great person, or group of people, is the ability to persevere in the face of adversity."

Mars Polar Lander is part of a series of missions in a long-term program of Mars exploration managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL's industrial partner is Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Hopes Fade For Silent Mars Polar Lander." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991207075153.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (1999, December 7). Hopes Fade For Silent Mars Polar Lander. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991207075153.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Hopes Fade For Silent Mars Polar Lander." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991207075153.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Italy's first female astronaut safely docks with the International Space Station, according to NASA. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins