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  sci-tech > space > story pagecorner  

NASA checking possibility that Mars Lander sent signal to Earth

Mars Polar Lander

January 25, 2000
Web posted at: 8:33 p.m. EST (0133 GMT)

PASADENA, California (CNN) -- Mission managers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say the Mars Polar Lander may have tried to phone home after all -- on a bad connection -- and they sent new commands to the lander Tuesday in another attempt to achieve contact with the presumed lost mission.

The commands, sent Tuesday, will instruct the lander to send a signal directly to Earth to an antenna at Stanford University.

  ALSO
 
  MESSAGE BOARD
Destination Mars

 

Similar attempts using the Stanford antenna were conducted in December and earlier this month, but no signal was immediately detected. Now, the Stanford team says additional processing of the data shows a weak signal, possibly from Mars, was received during those attempts. This week's test will seek to replicate those results.

Even if the signal came from the Polar Lander it would not mean the mission could be saved. The signal is extremely weak, indicating a failure in the lander's primary transmitter. It is unlikely that problem could be corrected or that science data could be returned. However, it would give the team a few more clues in determining how the mission failed.

The Stanford receiving station will listen Wednesday to see if it detects any signal from the lander. Results from the test are not expected for several days.



RELATED STORIES:
NASA abandons attempts to contact Polar Lander
January 17, 2000
NASA to give up search for silent Mars Polar Lander
January 16, 2000
Silence on Mars as NASA's 'last silver bullet' misses mark
December 7, 1999
One more good chance to find Mars lander
December 6, 1999
NASA 'less confident' but won't give up on Mars Lander
December 5, 1999
Mars lander misses first chance to communicate
December 3, 1999

RELATED SITE:
Mars Polar Lander Official Website
Mars Exploration Program
Mars Pathfinder
Mars Global Surveyor
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