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Aerosp Am. 1996 May;34(5):26-30.

Reaching for the red planet

Abstract

NASA:

The distant shores of Mars were reached by numerous U.S. and Russian spacecraft throughout the 1960s to mid 1970s. Nearly 20 years have passed since those successful missions which orbited and landed on the Martian surface. Two Soviet probes headed for the planet in July, 1988, but later failed. In August 1993, the U.S. Mars Observer suddenly went silent just three days before it was to enter orbit around the planet and was never heard from again. In late 1996, there will be renewed activity on the launch pads with three probes departing for the red planet: 1) The U.S. Mars Global Surveyor will be launched in November on a Delta II rocket and will orbit the planet for global mapping purposes; 2) Russia's Mars '96 mission, scheduled to fly in November on a Proton launcher, consists of an orbiter, two small stations which will land on the Martian surface, and two penetrators that will plow into the terrain; and finally, 3) a U.S. Discovery-class spacecraft, the Mars Pathfinder, has a December launch date atop a Delta II booster. The mission features a lander and a microrover that will travel short distances over Martian territory. These missions usher in a new phase of Mars exploration, setting the stage for an unprecedented volley of spacecraft that will orbit around, land on, drive across, and perhaps fly at low altitudes over the planet.

PMID:
11538726
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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