NASA has sparked a new uproar over the failed $165 million Mars Polar Lander program because of a statement in a recently released report. This latest Mars-program controversy revolves around NASA’s claim that a “target” was “achieved” because the spacecraft’s robotic arm worked in testing on Earth, even though the arm and the entire Lander were lost after crashing into Mars in early December.
The House’s chief overseer of NASA on Wednesday blamed mismanagement for two failed Mars missions but stopped short of calling for changes in the space agency’s leadership. An independent review of the missions, which both failed in 1999, concluded last month that they failed because of inadequate testing, inexperienced staff, poor communication and insufficient funds. But Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., said those problems could have been avoided had management paid more attention to tests, employee training and budget management.
A recent NASA report found the Deep Space 2 microprobes were unfit for launch but sent to Mars all the same, where they vanished December 3, 1999 along with their mothership, the Mars Polar Lander.
The software problem that likely crashed the Mars Polar Lander into the Red Planet
A software glitch that likely doomed the Mars Polar Lander might have done the same to NASA
NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin said Wednesday he accepts the blame for the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander spacecraft, saying he had asked the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to do the impossible.
Congress, Mars & NASA Alabama Live
You don’t get a Cadillac for the price of a Yugo. NASA is simply trying to make the most of the money it has. The facts as we know them: On Dec. 3, 1999, the Mars Polar Lander began descending to the surface of the red planet. And that was it. The probe was never heard from again. The spacecraft or its debris, if any exists, is lost in space or on the Martian surface, where recovery is not practical.
James Oberg of UPI claims that NASA knew there was a problem with the Mars Polar Lander propulsion system prior to the Dec. 3 landing attempt and “withheld this conclusion from the public.” NASA categorically denies this charge.
NASA officials are categorically denying the accuracy of media reports that have been swirling since Tuesday night, which say that NASA knew in advance that the Mars Polar Lander (MPL) was doomed, but kept it secret.