The Mars Polar Lander during tests.
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Courtesy of NASA

Mars Lander may be Alive
News story originally written on January 27, 2000

Just when everyone had given up hope, a faint signal was received at Stanford University. Scientists say it most likely came from Mars, although they won't know for sure until later this week. The signals came on December 18, and January 4, which are the two days the lander was told to send a signal to Earth.

"The circumstantial evidence indicates that the signals came from Mars, and if that is the case there is a good chance they came from the Lander," project manager Richard Cooke said. "The signals that were received were like a whisper among a lot of static."

Scientists say it is very unlikely that the Polar Lander could continue the mission, even if it is still alive. They are hoping the craft could at least give them some information about its landing. Investigators are trying to find out what caused the disaster.

The concept of a living lander puzzled and surprised the entire Mars Polar Lander team. "I was blown away," said flight operations manager Sam W. Thurman. "Imagine coming back from the funeral of a dear friend and getting a phone call saying ... he's not dead after all."

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