Artist's depiction of the Mars Climate Orbiter.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
NASA Loses Climate Orbiter
News story originally written on September 27, 1999
The Mars Climate Orbiter was sent to the Red Planet to study its weather. It reached the planet last Thursday morning, but there was a problem. The satellite went too far into Mars' atmosphere, and burned up!
NASA sent the orbiter to study the planet's weather for one Mars year, or 687 days. In December, another probe called the Mars Polar Lander will land on Mars to look for water. The orbiter was going to help the lander get to the surface. Now it will have to get there by itself.
Scientists have had many problems while studying Mars. The Mars Observer was lost just before reaching Mars in 1993. The Soviet Union had a launch failure that destroyed one of their probes too.
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