Arrival of the Red Planet
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After Consolidating the results of the Viking lander and orbiter missions of the mid 1970s, NASA dispatched the first of what became a wave of new planetary explorers to Mars. Mars Observer was launched on 25 September 1992 to undertake a global survey of the surface and atmosphere over the course of a local year using a high-resolution imaging system; a laser altimeter to construct a topographic map; gamma-ray and a thermal emission spectrometers to chart the composition of the surface; an infrared radiometer to monitor the annual cycle of the atmosphere; and an integrated magnetometer and electron reflectometer to seek magnetic fields. But contact with the spacecraft was lost on 22 August 1993, while it was in the process of pressurizing its propulsion system for the imminent orbit-insertion manoeuvre.
KeywordsMagnetic Field Imaging System Annual Cycle Thermal Emission Propulsion System
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- David M Harland: Water and the Search for Life on Mars. Springer-Praxis, 2005.Google Scholar