Artist's depiction of the Mars Climate Orbiter.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
NASA Loses Climate Orbiter (Updated!)
News story originally written on October 4, 1999
NASA says they caused the Mars Climate Orbiter to burn up. Scientists confused the units when finding the right orbit. The orbiter got too close to the Red Planet and blew up.
The spacecraft would have studied Mars' weather for one Mars year, which is 687 days. Now, scientists are trying to find out how they could have made the mistake.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
You might also be interested in:
The Mars Polar Lander will land on the Red Planet on December 3, 1999! The spacecraft was sent to search for water on Mars. It will land near the south pole. Before landing, the Polar Lander will drop...more
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 sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more
Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more
The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more
Trees and plants are a very important part of this Earth. Trees and plants are nature's air conditioning because they help keep our Earth cool. On a summer day, walking bare-foot on the sidewalk burns,...more