Rest In Peace Mars Polar Lander
October 12, 2009
On December 3, 1999 Mars Polar Lander (MPL) was set to touchdown on the enigmatic layered terrain located near the South Pole. Unfortunately, communications with the spacecraft were lost and never regained. The Mars Program Independent Assessment Team concluded that this loss was most likely due to premature retrorocket shutdown resulting in the crash of the lander. The image primarily shows what appears to be a ridged surface with some small isolated hills. Historically, exploration has and will continue to be a very hard and risky endeavor and sometimes you lose. But the spirit of exploration and discovery has served mankind well throughout the ages and it has now driven us to the far reaches of space. Therefore, with this in mind the THEMIS Team today is releasing an image of the region where MPL was set to land in memory of this mission and the unquenchable spirit of exploration. It is hoped that in the near future we will once again attempt another landing in the Martian polar regions.
Topics: Environment, Mare Australe quadrangle, Mars Polar Lander, Spacecraft, Lander, Mars Pathfinder, Spirit rover, Mars