HENNING DALHOFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HENNING DALHOFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars Polar Lander. Computer illustration of the landing of the Mars Polar Lander (from top left to bottom right). First the spacecraft releases its two Deep Space 2 microprobes. It heats up as it passes through the atmosphere before its parachute is deployed. After the Lander separates from its protective shell, its rockets fire to provide a gentle landing. The probe was built to study the Martian soil and weather. The microprobes were designed to hit the surface and bury small probes in the Martian soil to look for deeper water. Contact with the spacecraft was lost just before its expected landing on December 3 1999.
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