From: Steven L. Wilson Sr <Ndunlks@aol.com> Date: Sat, 2 Jan 1999 00:44:57 EST Fwd Date: Sat, 02 Jan 1999 11:16:44 -0500 Subject: Mars Probe To Launch Sunday NASA Launches New Probe of Red Planet To the Martian Pole By Kenneth Chang ABCNEWS.com Jan. 1 -- New Year, time for a new mission to Mars. Next up in NASA=92s continuing barrage of spacecraft to the Red Planet is Mars Polar Lander, which will be the first probe to land near one of the poles. Was Mars Warm and Wet? A companion spacecraft, the Mars Climate Orbiter, was launched last month. These latest missions are designed to explore the history of the Martian climate. While they won=92t directly look for life, they will look at whether the conditions hospitable to life once existed on the planet. Launch opportunities (all times EST) Jan. 3 3:21:10 pm Jan. 4 3:13:34 pm Jan. 5 3:05:42 pm Jan. 6 2:57:33 pm Jan. 7 2:49:03 pm Jan. 8 2:40:03 pm Jan. 9 2:30:05 pm Jan. 10 2:19:08 pm Jan. 11 2:22:03 pm Jan. 12 2:25:59 pm Jan. 13 2:43:06 pm Jan. 14 2:47:10 pm Jan. 15 2:27:55 pm Jan. 16 2:35:07 pm Jan. 17 2:25:28 pm Jan. 18 2:15:32 pm Jan. 19 2:05:15 pm Jan. 20 1:54:44 pm Jan. 21 1:51:40 pm Jan. 22 1:41:11 pm Jan. 23 1:30:17 pm Jan. 24 1:19:18 pm Jan. 25 1:08:05 pm Jan. 26 12:56:41 pm Jan. 27 12:53:45 pm Equipment on Mars Polar Lander, which will land at Mars in December, includes a robotic arm that will scoop up a few inches of soil for chemical analysis, weather-observing instruments and a microphone that will be the first to pick up and broadcast sounds from another planet. Beneath the Surface Also on Mars Polar Lander are two basketball-size probes that will detach from the main spacecraft about five minutes before entering the Martian atmosphere and then literally crash into the planet at about 400 miles per hour. That will allow the part of the probes to penetrate three feet into the Martian soil in an effort to find frozen water there. One of the mysteries of Mars is whether all its water has gone. Huge floods almost certainly carved the gigantic canyons on the Martian surface, but today the surface is dry. The polar ice caps contain only a fraction of the water believed to have once bathed the planet. Many planetary scientists believe the rest of the water is frozen beneath the surface. In order to line up the trajectory of Mars Polar Lander with its destination near the Martian south pole, its launch has to timed literally to the second. The first chance to launch comes Sunday 10 seconds after 3:21 pm EST. These near-instantaneous once-a-day launch opportunities continue through Jan. 27. Weather predictions gave a 30 percent chance of a launch on Sunday, 60 percent on Monday. Cost Cutter Mars Polar Lander continues NASA=92s trend of packing more into less. Mars Polar Lander and Climate Orbiter cost a combined $190 million -- two missions for less than the $262 million price tag of Mars Pathfinder two years ago, which itself was a remarkable cost cutter compared to earlier NASA missions. The failed Mars Observor mission that disappeared without a trace in 1993 cost $1 billion. Here=92s an overview of Mars Polar Lander: Spacecraft Facts What: Mars Polar Lander Why: To explore the environment near the Martian south pole. When: Scheduled for launch 3:21 pm, Jan. 3 from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Destination: After a 11-month journey, the spacecraft will enter the Martian atmosphere Dec. 3, 1999 and land near the Martian south pole. Size: 3.5 feet tall, 12 feet wide Weight: 1,270 lbs. Mission cost: Together with Mars Climate Orbiter, $190 million Copyright =A91998 ABCNEWS and Starwave Corporation.
[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |
UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp