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Mars Probes, Past and Future

Spacecraft meant for Red Planet

  • AP/NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • AP/NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • NASA
  • NASA
  • NASA
  • NASA
  • NASA
  • NASA
  • NASA
  • This artist's rendering released by NASA shows the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory on the surface of Mars. Will NASA's flagship mission to Mars fly next year? The space agency could decide as early as Friday whether to cancel, delay or proceed with plans to launch a nuclear-powered, SUV-size rover to the Red Planet.
  • In this photo released by NASA, an engineering model of the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory, dubbed 'Scarecrow,' makes its way down a hill in the 'Mars Yard' at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Will NASA's flagship mission to Mars fly next year? The space agency could decide as early as Friday whether to cancel, delay or proceed with plans to launch a nuclear-powered, SUV-size rover to the Red Planet.
  • An illustration of the Mars Phoenix Lander at twilight on Mars. Phoenix is still sending back data about the Martian north pole, but will likely go dark by the end of 2008 as winter settles in.
  • A still from a computer animation showing the Mars Phoenix Lander streaking through the Martian atmosphere on its way to landing on the Red Planet in May 2008.
  • The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which entered Martian orbit in March 2006 and is still in operation sending back data about the Red Planet.
  • An artist's conception of the Spirit rover, which with its twin Opportunity is still slowly roaming around small sections of the Martian surface.
  • The Mars Global Surveyor, a mapping satellite which entered Martian orbit in 1997 and stayed in operation for more than 9 years before finally losing radio contact in late 2006.
  • NASA's ARES Mars unmanned aerial rover, a long-delayed program which was to send a robotic aircraft flying around the Red Planet.
  • The surface of Mars, as photographed by the Viking 2 landers in 1976.

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