"That was overwhelming. September 20, 1999 The newer craft's solar array, which extends about 18 feet, is performing fine, Thurman said. The finding was a major embarrassment for NASA, which said it was investigating how such a basic error could have gone through a mission's checks and balances. But soon after it was in space and headed towards Mars, it became apparent that something had gone wrong with the craft. NASA and Lockheed officials said the full details of how the mistake occurred are not known. Business | thrust in pounds, an English unit, but that NASA scientists thought the information was in the metric measurement of newtons. Mars Polar Lander's job was to focus primarily on Mars' climate and water. That includes equipment for extracting oxygen from Mars' thin carbon-dioxide atmosphere. Shortly after it was launched, Nasa announced that it had received its first signal from the spacecraft. Mission controlelrs are conducting 'full health assessment' in the hope that craft will be cruising again soon, Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. That limits the damage done by the failure of any single mission. "The big risk is that the engine won't fire," he said. Technology | Should there be any trouble with Mars Climate Orbiter, a "fully viable" science mission is possible with the Polar Lander on its own, Thurman said. Mars Polar Lander was an ambitious mission to set a spacecraft down on the frigid terrain near the edge of Mars' south polar cap and dig for water ice with a robotic arm. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. The notion of water on Mars preceded the space age by hundreds of years. "The real issue is not that the data was wrong," said Edward C. Stone, the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., which was in charge of the mission. The plan is to have Mars Climate Orbiter ready to relay signals from the martian surface on December 3 when its partner spacecraft -- Mars Polar Lander -- touches down on the red planet. It is part of a new strategy to fly more but less expensive, missions to Mars. The US, the only country to safely put a spacecraft on Mars, is seeking its ninth successful landing on the planet, which has proved to be the Bermuda Triangle of space exploration, with more than half of the world's missions there burning up, crashing or otherwise ending in failure. To definitively answer the life-beyond-Earth question, the samples must be analyzed by the best electron microscopes and other instruments, far too big to fit on a spacecraft, he said. Mars 2, Mars 3 and Mariner 9 were all launched into space in May 1971, and all entered Mars’ orbit that same year. "This is kind of the very first thing in Physics 101 or Engineering 101. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium.
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