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Mars Climate Orbiter & Mars Polar Lander Welcomes You To Its Web Site

Join us on our journey to Mars, both in orbit around the red planet and from the surface. Mars Surveyor 98 is actually two missions whose total price tag is about the same as Mars Pathfinder. Following in the footsteps of Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder, Mars Surveyor 98 will take advantage of the 1998 launch opportunity to Mars which is available every 26 months.

The "Volatiles and Climate History" theme for the 1998 Mars Surveyor missions was recommended by the Mars Science Working Group and is aligned directly with NASA''s Mars exploration strategy for the next decade focusing on: Evidence of past or present life, Climate, and Resources.

The 1998 orbiter mission will carry a rebuilt version of the Mars Observer Pressure Modulated Infrared Radiometer (PMIRR) with Dr. Daniel McCleese of JPL as Principal Investigator, and the Mars Color Imaging (MARCI) system with Dr. Michael Malin, of Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) as Principal Investigator. PMIRR will observe the global distribution and time variation of temperature, pressure, dust, water vapor, and condensates in the Martian atmosphere. MARCI will observe synoptically Martian atmospheric processes at global scale and study details of the interaction of the atmosphere with the surface at a variety of scales in both space and time. In addition to the science payload, the orbiter spacecraft will provide an on-orbit data relay capability for future U.S. and/or international surface stations.

For the first time ever, we will be landing in the polar regions of Mars. The science complement for the 1998 lander includes: the Mars Volatile and Climate Surveyor (MVACS) integrated lander payload with Dr. David Paige of UCLA as Principal Investigator, the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) with Dr. Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems as Principal Investigator, and an atmospheric lidar experiment provided by the Russian Space Agency Institute for Space Science. Dr. Paige's integrated lander payload includes a Surface Stereo Imager (SSI) with Mars Pathfinder heritage; a meteorology package (MET); an instrumented robotic arm (RA) for sample acquisition, soil manipulation, and close up imaging of the surface and subsurface; and the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analysis (TEGA) experiment for determining the nature and abundance of volatile material in the Martian soil. The descent images obtained by MARDI while the lander spacecraft descends to the surface will establish the geological and physical context of the landing site. The atmospheric lidar experiment will determine the dust content of the Martian atmosphere above the landing site.

Piggybacking on the Mars 98 lander are two small microprobes. Separating from the lander just prior to entry into the Martian atmosphere, the two microprobes will slam into the surface of Mars at a velocity of 200 meters per second. The aeroshell on each probe will shatter to release the science package which will penetrate up to 2 meters into the soil. The microprobes will determine if water ice is present in the Martian subsurface, and will also measure the temperature and monitor the local Martian weather.

Share the excitement of this mission by periodically visiting this website as our journey unfolds.

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