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Mars CSI: What happened to the Polar Lander?

06/01/2005 10:48 AM

On December 3, 1999, NASA's Mars Polar Lander descended towards the surface of Mars. It was not heard from again. Now, Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) is using the Mars Orbiter Camera on the Mars Global Surveyor to photograph the wreckage in hopes of determining what went wrong. The leading theory is that spurious signals were created when the craft's legs were deployed during descent, although others believe the Polar Lander's engines may have shutdown prematurely during entry.

For more on the "Mystery of the Mars Polar Lander", check our previous report.

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The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
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#1

Contaimination

06/03/2005 8:47 AM

The great thing is that there might be life on Mars now, because we put it there on accident. I never thought about microbe contamination as an issue in space exploration.

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Guru
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#2
In reply to #1

Re:Contaimination

07/12/2005 11:59 AM

I'm surprised that didn't use the same precaution as all those landing at Antartica are supposed to do - nothing new on and nothing old off.

The concept of microbe contamination is nothing new...the Incas were wiped out by the Smallpox/Chickenpox the European "visitors" carried and were immune to.

Then again, even if you steralised the unit before launch, it would pick up microbes on the way through the atmosphere.

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