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The Mars Observer spacecraft in the clean room.
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NASA/JPL

Mars Observer

The Mars Observer set out to observe the atmosphere , magnetic field, and surface of Mars. It carried with it 8 instruments. However, the Mars Observer (called MO for short) failed on August 21, 1993, just before entering Martian orbit. Over the long cruise from Earth to Mars, some of the fuel leaked into the engines. When the engines were ignited for orbit entry, the fuel tanks blew up!

Out of the failure of Mars Observer came the Mars Surveyor Program. Some of the same instruments developed for the Mars Observer were used for the Mars Global Surveyor mission, Mars '98 missions and Mars 2001 Odyssey mission which launched in April 2001.

Last modified May 10, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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