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NASA's Mars Polar Lander Found at Last?

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the better-late-than-never dept.

Mars 152

Ant wrote in to mention that the Sky and Telescope is running a story (with photographs and other images) that NASA's Mars Polar Lander (MPL) may have been found. From the article: "On December 9, 1999, it was supposed to touch down near the red planet's south pole but disappeared after entering the Martian atmosphere without a trace. 5.5 years later, scientists think they may have finally located the lander's wreckage and confirmed what went wrong with the mission...The search for Mars Polar Lander was hampered by inexperience: the team didn't know what a parachute should look like or how the ground would be disturbed by the landing rockets. Lessons learned from observations of the Mars Exploration Rover landing sites helped team members identify what they think are the parachute, the rocket-blast zone, and ultimately the lander itself."

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Late Breaking News: (5, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450466)


Today the Council disclosed the news that the repulsive beings inhabiting the blue planet third from our star have located the wreckage of one of their invading spacecraft near our planet's southern pole.

Strangely enough, their newscasts mentioned nothing of the warning plaque errected alongside the downed invader.
Some scientists theorize that the translation of our warning into their bestial language was imperfect, while others maintain that the plaque is simply too small to be imaged properly with their feeble, childish astronomical instruments.

K'Breel, speaker for the Council, voiced another, more pesimistic theory:



"Certainly, beings who are capable of constructing and sending such fiendishly clever little devices to spy on our world are more than capable of receiving and understanding our warning. They have simply chosen to disregard it. Clearly we can no longer ignore the predaceous advances of the evil blue planet. The Council has given the final authorization to divert our asteroid into a collision course. We now need only wait."

Re:Late Breaking News: (3, Funny)

Androk (873765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450559)

K'Breel's opponent A'Ting says in typical liberal form, K'Breel is being to soft on the invaders. Nothing short of the devastation to the 5th planet will be acceptable, after all some could survive the asteroid collision. His quote "enviromental worries about a new asteroid belt blocking 5 to 10% of the sun are vastly over blown". More news as it comes...

Re:Late Breaking News: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450585)



The fifth planet?

What do the Martians have against the Jovians?

Re:Late Breaking News: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450655)

While the Jovian Guardian Hive has never claimed responsibility, the Martian Council has always believed they were responsible for the annihiliation of the Martian settlement, and indeed the planet itself, once located between the two worlds.

Re:Late Breaking News: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450685)

And, they are just so damn happy all of the time! Its frustrating. You kill the hive lord's 8,237 children and 423 wives and all he does is smile at you.

Re:Late Breaking News: (0)

Androk (873765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450880)

The fifth planet? What do the Martians have against the Jovians? THat used to be the 6th planet, the fifth is a nice asteroid belt. Androk

Re:Late Breaking News: (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450573)

Let's just hope Ming the Merciless doesn't get involved.

Re:Late Breaking News: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450595)

Beige Alert!

Montreal? (1)

montreal!hahahaha (880095) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450626)

Oh no they found us!
hahahahahaha

moo3 (1)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450658)

Damn it TMM... now I have to go play moo3.

Re:moo3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450848)

Damn it TMM... now I have to go play moo3.

Considering how bad that game was, you have good reason to damn him.

Re:moo3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12451097)

Considering how bad that game was, you have good reason to damn him.

Exactly. But it's fun to play once in a while. I mean nobody wants to buy my copy of the stupid game... right?

I wish someone would create something similar but make it far superior. There just aren't any good good God games anymore.

Re:Late Breaking News: (2, Funny)

david.given (6740) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451251)

"...such fiendishly clever little devices..."

Fiendishly clever? Obviously, those Martians aren't nearly as smart as they think they are...

A proposal (5, Funny)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450468)

Change the project name to

Mars Polar Plummeter

and call it a "smashing success"!

Re:A proposal (1)

Svippy (876087) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450482)

I wouldn't call it a success, though.

Rather; "smashing failure that led to a somewhat success"

Re:A proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450506)

*whoosh*

(if the project name is changed, then by definition it becomes successful - look how well it plummeted!)

(yes, that's silly and comical and not exactly logical or true.. it wasn't a serious recommendation in the first place, lighten up)

Re:A proposal (5, Funny)

vandon (233276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450787)

Who knew parachutes don't work as well in a thin atmosphere?

Re:A proposal (5, Informative)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451663)

The parachutes worked fine. The crash was caused by a tiny microswitch on one of the landing feet that was supposed to switch the engines off when it was clicked shut by touching rocks/dirt. It bounced shut 40M up because that's when the feet unfolded causing a slight jolt to the craft. No one anticipated that and the software was designed ONLY to say: switch closed=shut down engines now!

Re: A Modest Proposal (3, Funny)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450491)

Mars Deep Impact.

Before it gets Slashdotted... (5, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450483)


Here's the text of the article:


In December 1999 NASA's Mars Polar Lander (MPL) was supposed to touch down near the red planet's south pole. But shortly after it entered the Martian atmosphere, the spacecraft disappeared without a trace. Only now, 5½ years later, do scientists think they may have finally located the lander's wreckage and confirmed what went wrong with the mission. The full report, by planetary scientist Michael C. Malin (Malin Space Science Systems), appears in the July 2005 issue of Sky & Telescope, now in press.

Malin used his company's Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) aboard NASA's Mars Global Surveyor to search for the missing spacecraft in late 1999 and early 2000, but apparently came up empty. Shortly thereafter, a review board looking into the craft's disappearance reported what might have caused Mars Polar Lander's demise. The board suggested that MPL's landing rockets fired at the right time and altitude but cut off prematurely. They were suppose to continue firing until one of the craft's landing legs touched the surface. Apparently the onboard software mistook the jolt of landing-leg deployment for ground contact and shut down the engines, causing MPL to fall from a presumed height of 40 meters (130 feet).

Using information gained from observing the two Mars Exploration Rover landers last year, Malin reexamined the 1999 and 2000 images looking for similar features. This time he identified what looks to be a parachute located several hundred meters away from a disturbed bit of ground with a large mark in its center. The parachute-like feature closely matches the Mars Exploration Rover parachutes (which were made of the same materials), and Malin believes the disturbed ground matches what one would see if a rocket had blasted the surface from a height of tens of meters.

"It seems that the MPL investigation board may have been correct," writes Malin in Sky & Telescope. "MPL's descent proceeded more or less successfully through atmospheric entry and parachute jettison. It was only a few short moments before touchdown that disaster struck."

Later this year NASA will direct Mars Global Surveyor to reexamine the MPL crash site using a special technique to improve the camera's resolution to 0.5 meter per pixel. Malin hopes the new observations will provide the conclusive evidence needed to officially close the case of the missing Mars Polar Lander.

Mod parent down! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450577)

Here's the real text of the article:

Welcome to SkyandTelescope.com, where you'll find astronomy news, stargazing tips, expert advice on choosing and using telescopes, and much, much more.

Your Web browser appears to be set to block cookies. SkyandTelescope.com requires a cookie file, though you may visit the site without supplying any personal information, rendering the cookie anonymous. If you believe you reached this page in error, try clicking one of the links below to access our site.

Our interactive sky chart and astronomical almanac require that you specify a city and country, but no name, address, or other personal information. You may delete the cookie after your visit, but you will then have to reenter your location information next time.

To learn how to configure your system to accept cookies while visiting Web sites and/or to delete them afterward, see your browser's help page. Some browsers will allow you to accept SkyandTelescope.com's cookie without having to accept cookies from other sites.

If you have any questions, please send e-mail to custserv@SkyandTelescope.com or phone 800-253-0245 (USA, Canada) or +1 617-864-7360 (elsewhere). Thank you for your interest in SkyandTelescope.com!


*Makes sure Tinfoil Hat is properly adjusted*

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450629)

Michael Malin is an expert planetary scientist. A incredible number of discoveries in the geological history of Mars have been made by Malin and colleagues. It is unsuprising that his team was able to make this discovery. They rarely miss anything (making it hard for other planetary scientists studying Mars to find anything new--seriously!).

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450676)



Hey Michael...quit bogartting Mars!

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451014)

Ball-hogs on a grand scale eh? However I doubt that they're sitting on the data and not allowing anyone else to look at it. The other teams will just have to speed up their game, and soon they too will get the fame and endorsement contracts that go with being tops in the planetary science leagues.

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (0)

david.given (6740) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450671)

Does anyone have a link to the images?

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (-1, Redundant)

nganju (821034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450998)

"...causing MPL to fall from a presumed height of 40 meters (130 feet)...

From google:
40 meters = 131.233596 feet

Go go NASA metric conversion tables!
(yeah, i know, not the same mission)

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (2, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451058)

Your answer implies the presence of significant digits that don't exist in the original measurement.

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451123)

Shazam. You're right. It goes from 131.xxxxx feet, to 130 feet because you have to round anything that isnt significant in an inter-system conversion. And actually, the article probably didnt do sig-figs, otherwise they would've landed a value of ~100, because trailing zeroes are insiginificant unless there is a decimal *somewhere* in the answer.

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12451211)

RTFA!!!, oh wait, you just PTFA because we /.TFA.

Way to karma whore...

Here's the photo in case of Slashdotting (5, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450490)

Photo: .

Enlarged: o

Re:Here's the photo in case of Slashdotting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450508)

This is your asshole: .
This is your asshole in prison: O

Re:Here's the photo in case of Slashdotting (3, Funny)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450534)

Had they been able to read martian, they would have found it a lot sooner by just following the signs to "Jimbo's junk yand and space salvage, any part you want. You pull it $15"

Re:Here's the photo in case of Slashdotting (2, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450591)

Beh. To me, both items look just like random rocks, similar to those you can find right in the neighbourhood. The rock on photo 2 is simply a bit bigger.

Perhaps my eyesight is just bad, but I wouldn't dare to call this data conclusive. Try again with a better resolution.

Better Photo (2, Funny)

Maddog Batty (112434) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450713)

Better Photo: X

(it did crash after all!)

Re:Here's the photo in case of Slashdotting (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450940)

IN case of slashdotting use Google Web Accelerator...

What? (-1, Troll)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450496)

... 5.5 years later ...

6.83293589346945600 seconds later I feld the need to respond with a question. What ever happend to 5 and a half years later? Or, over five years later? Perhaps, nearly 6 years later? Using demcial points when talking about years is so slashdot :-)

Such sloppy facts.... (2, Informative)

YodaToo (776221) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450568)

A quick calc shows its more like 5.408219178 years based on a 365 day year and counting today.

Re:Such sloppy facts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450722)

As I always say, if you can't take your time calculation out to 42 decimal places, you never really knew the time. After 42 you both know and don't know it simultaneously.

Re:Such sloppy facts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450780)

And better yet, every time someone asks you for the time, you'll bore them into buying their own damn watch.

Re:Such sloppy facts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450910)

There's 365.25 days in a year anyways.

Prime NASA cadidates here... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451074)

Why do you idiots insist on discussing this in Earth years?!!! The probe's on Mars.

Can't Wait (4, Funny)

mattmentecky (799199) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450501)

With businesses like http://www.marsshop.com/ [marsshop.com] selling acre tracts of Martian land, how long before we have someone claiming that the Mars Polar Lander wreckage belongs to them?

We have [usually sunken] treasure laws, accidentally-delivered-merchandise laws but we'll need an inter-planetary-law expert to sort this out, anyone knows a good one?

Oblig. (2, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450564)

Leo Wong: We own entire western hemisphere. That the best hemisphere.
Professor Farnsworth: It's the same way on Earth.

Re:Can't Wait (-1, Troll)

Threni (635302) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450610)

> We have [usually sunken] treasure laws, accidentally-delivered-merchandise laws
> but we'll need an inter-planetary-law expert to sort this out, anyone knows a
> good one?

How about the BushII convention - you try and do things lawfully, like with the UN or the World Court, but it that goes against you you're not above `going it alone` (that is, breaking the law).

Re:Can't Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450623)

Thanks for pointing that place out. I need to sue them for trying to sell my land on mars. I laid claim to the whole planet years before they did.

and in fact my claim to ownership is just as valid as theirs.

which means that anyone that buy's anything from them is one of the biggest RETARDS and MORONS ever born.

they have ZERO claim to anything on mars, and they also are nothing but a scam. you CAN NOT own any part of mars. no country will recognize it in any way shape or form.

dibs (2, Interesting)

Senor_Programmer (876714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450647)

i don't know.

abandoned at sea, if you recover, it's yours

abandoned on land, on your property, it's yours

abandoned on the side of the road on trash day, it's yours. this how where I get all my lawn equipment. mower, weedwhacker, seed spreader, wheel barrow. other stuff too, radio, tv, computer, coffee pot, couch, lawn chairs, hammock, pots and pans, dishes, building materials, ... it's about the only way to live anymore what with the damn taxes.

abandoned on public property? I don't know.around here, abandoned cars and motorbikes are removed by a towing company that has a contract. if no one claims, they get sold for storage. not so easy for the amateur dumpster diver

Re:dibs (2, Interesting)

lcsjk (143581) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450950)

The main difference between a yard sale and yard trash is the distance from the curb.(unknown)

When you obtained your abandoned lawn mower from the roadside, was it by some coincidence still running and a lawn only partially cut?

Re:dibs (3, Informative)

Vulch (221502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451410)

abandoned at sea, if you recover, it's yours

Not true. Under international maritime law, abandoned at sea, if you recover, the original owner (who may now be an insurance company) must be given the opportunity to reclaim it on payment of reasonable (set by an admiralty court) expenses to you.

In any case government property remains government property, and you must have that governments permission before attempting salvage operations. See the fun Curt Newport had recovering a sunk Mercury capsule recently.

Re:Can't Wait (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450649)

Isnt that illegal under UN law to OWN places in space? Isnt it protected just like the Antartic, nobody OWNs it?

Re:Can't Wait (1, Flamebait)

0123456 (636235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450665)

"Isnt that illegal under UN law to OWN places in space?"

So's invading countries that haven't attacked you. No government really gives a damn about what the UN thinks, unless it's acting in their favor.

Re:Can't Wait (4, Informative)

HomerJayS (721692) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451283)

To clarify a bit. Under the (admittedly impotent)1967 UN treaty. No NATION can claim ownership of space real-estate. Private entities are free to claim ownership, getting some legal entity to affirm said ownwership and enforcement are other issues altogether.

In reality, it means that whoever gets there first (be it a nation-state sponsored colony or private entity) can do pretty much do whatever they see fit once they are there.

Re:Can't Wait (1)

Acy James Stapp (1005) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451405)

It's illegal for *governments* to own places in space.

Re:Can't Wait (4, Interesting)

TGK (262438) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451110)

Some countries have signed treaties saying they won't claim/weaponize space. Of course, some of those same countries signed treaties saying they wouldn't try to develop anti-ballistic missiles.

Under international law (specificly the treaty of London, 1600) a settlement, colony, or claim is only valid if the country in question has the means in palce to defend it.

In other words, should China (which didn't sign that whole "won't claim space" treaty) land on the Moon and claim it for China, it won't be recognised as Chinese property unless they bring along some effective means of keeping other people off of it.

Functionaly this leads to an anarchical environment. Wasn't such a bad idea in the 1600s, but when you're talking about the idea of carpet nuking someone's moon base into smoking oblivion to invalidate their claim to the place... well... things are different.

Re:Can't Wait (2, Funny)

Vague but True (804899) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450705)

Dear NASA,

Your probe is on my land. You have 30 days to retrieve before I claim it has my personal property.

This notice has been made public through the New Mars Post newspaper.

Sincerely,
Marvin the Martian

Re:Can't Wait (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451020)

I am guessing whoever gets there first gets to keep it. I am also predicting that the Mars rovers will make cool coffetables/footrests for someone someday.

Re:Can't Wait (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451088)

If they're selling chunks of Mars, they're eventually going to have to deal with the Martian Embassy [folktunes.org] , and that's not healthy! (A classic radio show chopped to 11m24s RealAudio and Trainspotting music added. Nice.)

Re:Can't Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12451320)

Law stops at atmosphere.

Re:Can't Wait (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451356)

This is the same as the guy who was selling acreage on the moon. It was ruled illegal and he got fined. Ultimately, you cannot sell what you do not own.

Reason Found (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450512)

It was also reported that NASA had to pay the local martian towing company an exorbiant amount to get their vehicle back. "The towing company just ripped us off", said the mission control head. It is learnt that the local martian city council has awarded the monopoly in towing unclaimed spaceships to 'Tow-ards a Better Future Inc'.

NASA (-1, Redundant)

somethingwitty (881654) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450516)

The beginning of the end for NASA?

Re:NASA (-1, Redundant)

somethingwitty (881654) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450541)

How can comment #7 be redundant?

Re:NASA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450556)

Because your statement is a known fact and you were just being...redundant?

Inadequate labelling system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450566)

It was as close to "-1, Retarded" as they could get.

Obligatory Link to the Lobbing Scorecard (5, Funny)

Old VMS Junkie (739626) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450519)

For those of you keeping score in the grand game... http://www.bio.aps.anl.gov/~dgore/fun/PSL/index.ht ml [anl.gov]

Re:Obligatory Link to the Lobbing Scorecard (1)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451001)

They don't have Beagle II on their site anywhere. Somebody needs to have a talk with the scorekeeper.

Re:Obligatory Link to the Lobbing Scorecard (1)

Raphael (18701) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451184)

They don't have Beagle II on their site anywhere.

They do. 20:15 | 2003 Jun 02 17:45:00 | Mars Express [anl.gov] . This was rated as a success although Beagle 2 failed, just like several other missions that sent data or images back even if they sent less than planned due to a malfunction in one of the instruments or probes.

Re:Obligatory Link to the Lobbing Scorecard (1)

Mad_Rain (674268) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451213)

Anyone else read that tag at the end of the link as "anal.gov" ? (Perhaps some truth in government agency naming? ;) )

parachuting problems?!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450530)

the team didn't know what a parachute should look like?!! It is a soft fabric device made up of Cowboy Neal's worn out underwears (if he wears any...)

Blast zone? (1, Funny)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450533)

If they didn't know what a blast zone looked like they could always walk down to their server room.

Under 50 replies and the story is down. Sheesh.

There should be a cache link requirement for a story to be accepted from now on.

mirrordot link. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450673)

That cache link can be found at mirrordot.org:

the article [mirrordot.org] including some pictures.

wait a minute ... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450575)

Does my memory fail me, or wasn't there a news article back then that showed how some defense dep't. spy satellites were trained on Mars and found the thing? It was pretty much where NASA said it would be. And my memory says the pictures we're now seeing (again...) look a LOT like those that the spy cameras saw.

This happened not long after the mishap.

But within a VERY short while, all the news postings and pictures taken by the spy satellites VANISHED from the 'net.

Am I the only one who remembers this?

Re:wait a minute ... (1, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450625)


Unfortunately, you are not the only one. A significant percentage of the population were unaffected by the memory-erasing ray broadcast during the popular sitcom 'Friends'.

Please report to your nearest government office for reeducation.

Re:wait a minute ... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450648)

Am I the only one who remembers this?

yes..... yes you are.

BTW, you missed you last electro-shock therapy treatment this morning. And what have we told you about hogging the internet pc in the common's area. do we need to send you to Doctor Proctor in Rectology again?

now take your pills and have someone wheel you down here.

Re:wait a minute ... (2, Funny)

v1 (525388) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450666)

Agents will be arriving in a few minutes to correct this. Just remain seated in front of your computer.

Re:wait a minute ... (1)

Fr33z0r (621949) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450907)

I think I know what you're talking about, but it wasn't spy satellites that took the images, rather a spy agency doing supersampling with multiple MGS images of the region.

I remember reading about it on space.com, the article is probably in their archives somewhere.

Re:wait a minute ... (4, Informative)

Sirch (82595) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451036)

Is this [space.com] what you are referring to?

Not missing, just misplaced (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450605)

They found it in a props warehouse at Paramount studios, right next to the Apollo 11 LEM.

I found it months ago on Google Maps (2, Funny)

GatesGhost (850912) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450632)

google has become all powerful, all knowing.

Innovation at its finest (1, Funny)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450643)

The search for Mars Polar Lander was hampered by inexperience: the team didn't know what a parachute should look like or how the ground would be disturbed by the landing rockets.

NASA Janitor 1: ...and my favorite Calvin and Hobbes of all time was the strip when the went to Mars.
NASA Janitor 2: You mean when they see Voyager and take their wagon to meet a new alien?
NASA Janitor 1: Yeah they just launch into outer space by riding their wagon down a hill and projecting into space!
NASA Intern passing by: Why didn't I think of that! How did they land?

Direct link to data and photos at Malin Space (5, Informative)

CuriousKangaroo (543170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450682)

Here is the direct link to the Malin Space Science Systems page with the data and images.

In addition to MPL, they have found Viking 2.

http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2005/05/05/ind ex.html [msss.com]

Cool stuff.

Still missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12450776)

Ok, MPL has finally been found. But where ist Beagle?

Re:Still missing (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451180)

Under the landing pad for Opportunity. Where else?

some scientists (4, Funny)

yodaj007 (775974) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450920)

"the team didn't know what a parachute should look like"

This might help. [google.com]

Don't stop there (2, Interesting)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450927)

Can they can start looking for Beagle 2, so we might have a chance of understanding what went wrong with that one?

Testing! (3, Insightful)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 9 years ago | (#12450928)

If only they had a sensor that measured constant force exterted on a landing leg insted of the short impulse of landing.

Why is there not a standard design mars landing vehicle, one that can be used to deploy any payload upto say 8^3m meters in volume, it would solve a lot of issues and reduce the overall mission costs, if designed well it could be used to land on other bodies (moon/IO/Europa) with only a slight modification to fuel levels/Paracute size/airbag preasure.

Re:Testing! (4, Informative)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451167)

If only they had a sensor that measured constant force exterted on a landing leg insted of the short impulse of landing.

I'm willing to bet the team wanted to disrupt the surrounding area around the craft as little as poissible. If you wait for a an extended force, that's time that the craft is on the group firing it's rockets into the ground doing nothing but churning up the landscape.

Why is there not a standard design mars landing vehicle, one that can be used to deploy any payload upto say 8^3m meters in volume, it would solve a lot of issues and reduce the overall mission costs, if designed well it could be used to land on other bodies (moon/IO/Europa) with only a slight modification to fuel levels/Paracute size/airbag preasure.

There's no standard design because we're still looking for the best solution! We've only landed a handful of times. Don't forget it's not just the landing to consider, but how we get the thing there. The systems used for the Rovers did pretty well for themselves, and I bet we see more of the Bouncy-Ball design in the future. However, landing location has a lot to do with landing type. The ice caps might in general have too delicate of a surface to ensure the bouncy-ball design work well there.

I'm sure that with continued missions, a more standard solution will come into effect.

Send in the rover (1)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451024)

How far is the crash site from the mars rover? If it's close, why not send it over to investigate?

Re:Send in the rover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12451331)

Sure, why not? It will just take a few centuries, given the current speed of the rovers (i.e., longer than their expected lifetime). That is, assuming that they can cross some craters and deep valleys or go around other minor obstacles such as mountains that are much taller than what we have on our planet. But if they can do all that then sure, let's try...

Didn't know what a parachute looks like... (0)

IdJit (78604) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451039)

But I'll bet most of the geeks at NASA know Goatse looks like. (nah...i'm not gonna link to it.)

Inexperiences (1, Funny)

chrisnewbie (708349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451127)

"The search for Mars Polar Lander was hampered by inexperience: the team didn't know what a parachute should look like" In another news! a team of nasa specialist all died while jumping from a plane, seems like they didnt know the difference between a pillow and a parachute. Man what a bad excuses!!

Re:Inexperiences (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451559)

I believe they were talking about in regards to the atmospheric pressure. It's not the same as earth obviously.

You have got to be kidding ! (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451153)

Is this just a case of wishful thinking ?

Are we really seeing the best quality photos available ?

From what I can tell, they have extrapolated the final image to the point where it almost looks like Abe Lincolns face here: http://www.balloonhq.com/highlights/hats/lincoln.J PG [balloonhq.com]

I hope I haven't violated any rules with that link, I just did a quick internet search for itm it's not meant as a troll or a advertisment

We welcome you (1)

CyBlue (701644) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451277)

We, the beings of Mars, welcome our lander overlords.

Present Usage (1)

JJ (29711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451350)

Right now that probe is as useful as the rusting 76 Chevy Impala out back of my future father in law's trailer.

Why the MPL crashed (5, Interesting)

photonic (584757) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451393)

I did read the failure investigation report (can be found here [klabs.org] , search for polar) some time ago and IIRC the most probable failure scenario was a software error involving a single boolean:

MPL was to land under active control (with rocket power, not the air-bag trick). To kill the moter once it had touched down the legs contained contact sensors which were constructed of a pin with a spring, a magnet and a Hall-sensor. The legs were to be extended some time before touchdown.

The problem was the sensors would trigger some intermediate false readings during the leg extension. These false readings toggled a flag, which, once the control system first started looking for contact, immediately killed the engine, having the lander free-fall to death. Clearing the flag after the leg-extension would have saved the mission. The bug was not found because of errors in the software design documents and lack of a system level test. The intermediate false readings were found in a component level test, but its consequences somehow didn't made it in the final design.

Do I have this right? Parachute still white? (2, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451395)

The two rovers now in operation are risking issues due to dust covering their solar panels. And we've been reminded over and over how dust and wind have helped shape the surface of Mars for eons, etc.

But the parachute that has been laying around for the last 5+ years is still in one piece, just as it fell, and is as white as can be...

...is that what we're supposed to believe? How convenient that the raging elements didn't disturb it so NASA wonks could find it later.

Re:Do I have this right? Parachute still white? (4, Informative)

east coast (590680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451687)

But the parachute that has been laying around for the last 5+ years is still in one piece, just as it fell, and is as white as can be...

From msss.com [msss.com] (where some images of the "wreck" can be seen):

"Shortly after the loss of Mars Polar Lander (MPL), the Mars Global Surveyor MOC was employed to acquire dozens of 1.5 m/pixel images of the landing uncertainty ellipses, looking for any evidence of the lander and its fate..."

These are not new images, just new finds on old images.

Game over man! (1, Funny)

spankey51 (804888) | more than 9 years ago | (#12451590)

I say we takeoff and nuke the site from orbit... It's the only way to be sure.
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