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artist's concept of Mars surveyor landing

Mars Surveyor 98

The Mars Surveyor '98 program is the next generation of spacecraft to be sent to Mars. Consisting of an orbiter and lander launched separately on Med-Lite launch vehicles (Delta 7425 configuration), the Mars '98 mission will add to the knowledge gained by the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder missions. The general science theme for the 1998 Surveyor missions is "Volatiles and Climate History." The Mars 98 orbiter (named the Mars Climate Orbiter) will launch in December 1998 and arrive at Mars 10 months later. Upon arrival at Mars, the spacecraft will use a series of aerobraking maneuvers to achieve a stable orbit, and then use atmospheric instruments and cameras to provide detailed information about the surface and climate of Mars. The Mars 98 lander (named the Mars Polar Lander) will launch a month after the orbiter and will land near the southern polar cap on Mars. The lander is equipped with cameras, a robotic arm and instruments to measure the Martian soil composition. Two small microprobes are also piggybacking on the lander, which will penetrate into the Martian subsurface to detect water ice.

Mars Climate Orbiter

Mars Polar Lander


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