The Mars 96 project, a Russian effort, launched an orbiter bound for
Mars. This orbiter contained two small landers for surface exploration
and two penetrators designed to return data from below the surface.
The focus of the mission was to have been the chemical and physical
properties of the planet. Included among the 20 lander experiments was
the Mars Oxidant Experiment to investigate the nature and rate of chemical
reactions in the soil and atmosphere of Mars.
Regrettably, a failure onboard the spacecraft prevented the probe
from achieving its intended trajectory and the probe likely reentered
the atmosphere on or about November 16. For a chronology of events,
- Mars 96
- a page from the Space Research Institute in Moscow