Mars Polar Lander / Deep Space 2

Mars Polar Lander Spacecraft Mars Polar Lander Spacecraft

An artist's concept of Mars Polar Lander on the Red Planet. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Mission Summary

Designed to dig for water ice on Mars with a robotic arm, the Mars Polar Lander would have been the first-ever spacecraft to land on a polar region of the Red Planet. It carried two probes called Deep Space 2 that were designed to impact the Martian surface and test new technologies.

Contact was lost with both the Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2 about a year after launch. An investigation found that it was mostly likely a false signal that the spacecraft had landed that shut down the main engines and caused the spacecraft to crash into the Martian surface.

Scientific Instrument(s)

- Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor (MVACS)
- Mars Descent Imager (MARDI)
- Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)
- Mars microphone

Type: Lander/Rover
Status: Past
Launch Date: January 03, 1999
10:21 a.m. EST (15:21 UTC)
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Mission End Date: December 03, 1999
Target: Mars
Destination: South Pole, Mars
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