The Mars Odyssey spacecraft was launched aboard the Delta II rocket shown here. Launch occurred from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA/JPL
Mars Exploration Takes on a Whole New Look This Spring
News story originally written on April 19, 2001
In the 1990's, things didn't go so well for Mars exploration. NASA was hit with the loss of two Mars missions, the Mars Observer
and Mars '98
But, things have started looking up for Mars exploration
For the last year, the Mars Program Director, G. Scott Hubbard fixed problems and gave the NASA Mars Exploration program solid footing.
"Scott Hubbard was given 'mission impossible' and turned it
into 'mission accomplished,'" said Dr. Ed Weiler, Associate
Administrator for Space Science at NASA. Hubbard announced today that he will be leaving his post as Mars Program Director, but he will be leaving things in good hands with the new Director, Orlando Figueroa.
Things have already gotten off to a good start! The 2001 Mars Odyssey probe was launched on April 7, 2001. It is scheduled to get to Mars in October 2001. While it orbits the Red Planet, the Odyssey will collect data about what makes up
the Martian surface. It will also look at potential radiation hazards for future human explorers.
Five other major Mars missions are being planned for the next decade. NASA plans to launch twin rovers which will land on Mars in 2003 and a powerful scientific orbiter to be launched in 2005. A mobile science laboratory and the first of several smaller Scout missions are planned for 2007. Wrapping up this phase of exploration would be a sample return mission possibly as early as 2011. A sample return mission is where rocks and dirt would be brought back to Earth from the surface of Mars. Cool!
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible at the same time in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see. You won't want to miss this!...more