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This is an image of the Mars '98 spacecraft being prepared for launch.
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NASA

An Overview of the Mars '98 mission
News story originally written on April 24, 1998

The countdown has started for the Mars '98 mission. Only 230 days until the launch of the Mars Orbiter! Here are the details!

The Mars '98 mission will study weather and the surface itself at the Martian south pole. Mars '98 is to build on the discoveries of the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor missions by digging into the Martian surface in search of water.

The south pole of Mars is an important region because of the unusual types of land there, including icy ground and giant sand dunes.

Mars '98 consists of two spacecraft. The first one is a lander called the Martian Polar Lander. This one will land on the surface of Mars and dig into the soil with a robot arm. The second one will remain in orbit around Mars. This one is called the Martian Climate Orbiter.

The search for water, and the findings from that search will help answer questions about climate processes in general, and the Terrestrial and Martian climates in particular.


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