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21-Jan-07 | Mars Global Surveyor lost; mission ends

Having explored all possible options for regaining communications with the Mars Global Surveyor, NASA has conceded that the mission has been lost. (NASA Press Release, 21-Nov-06) Preliminary reports suggest that a combination of software and operator error allowed one solar panel to be turned against its hard stops, sending the spacecraft into safe mode. At that point it was oriented with its battery pointed toward the Sun; the battery overheated and expired. A formal review board has been convened to determine both the events and management processes that allowed this to occur. (NASA Press Release, 10-Jan-07)

Meanwhile, images from MGS continue to provide new discoveries, such as the annoucement that water still flows in brief spurts on Mars’ surface. (NASA Press Release, 06-Dec-06)

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