Scientists finds Mars lander lost in 1999

08 May 2005 | 13:44 Code : 5051 Geoscience events
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A San Diego company believes it has identified NASA's lost Mars Polar Lander near the Red Planet's south pole.
A San Diego company believes it has identified NASA's lost Mars Polar Lander near the Red Planet's south pole.  Malin Space Science Systems, which operates a camera aboard the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, has been re-examining photos of Mars' southern pole, the BBC reported Saturday.

Mike Malin, who heads the company, has summarized his findings in an article to be published in the July issue of Sky and Telescope.

"The observation of a single, small dot at the center of the disturbed location suggests that the vehicle remained more or less intact after its fall," he writes.

The $165 million Mars Polar Lander disappeared in 1999 while attempting a landing at Mars' south pole.

An investigation by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration concluded a software error shut down the probe's landing rockets too early, at about 130 feet above the planet's surface.

Malin writes that a parachute can be seen close to the imaged location, and he argues that disturbed ground matches what one would see if a rocket had blasted the surface from a height of a few hundred feet.

tags: QAZVIN


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