Artwork of Mars Polar Lander descending onto Mars

Artwork of Mars Polar Lander descending onto Mars

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This image is part of the feature Green Light For The Red Planet

Credit: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mars Polar Lander. Artwork of the Mars Polar Lander about to land in the South Polar region of Mars. The probe is due for launch in January 1999. Some carbon dioxide frost is seen in the shade of the boulders. This lightweight spacecraft is designed to study the soil and weather on Mars. It also has several imaging systems which will be used to photograph the terrain. A robot arm will be used to collect soil samples for on-board analysis. These will be tested for water, which will provide clues about possible Martian life in the planet's warmer, more hospitable past.

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