News of the WeekPlanetary Science

Yet Another Loss to the Martian Gremlin

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Science  10 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5447, pp. 2051
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5447.2051a

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Over the past weekend the Mars Polar Lander (MPL) went missing. While scientists mourned the loss of a chance to study martian water ice up close, mission planners at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, were at least as discouraged by the prospect that they may never know what sealed MPL's fate. In the wake of the loss, they offered two scenarios, but with no word from the lander, there's no way to know where things went wrong.