Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander

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Artist's conception of the Mars 2001 Surveyor Lander Spacecraft, with an inset showing details of the MIP experiment. Image courtesy of NASA Glenn Research Center

The NASA Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander was a planned Mars probe which was canceled in May 2000 in the wake of the failures of the Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander missions in late 1999. The Lander was a component of the Mars Surveyor 2001 project, and its companion spacecraft Mars Surveyor 2001 Orbiter, renamed 2001 Mars Odyssey, was launched and went into orbit about Mars on October 24, 2001.

The 2001 Surveyor lander spacecraft was built under contract to NASA by the Lockheed Martin corporation. Except for the solar arrays, the basic lander design is identical to that of the Mars Polar Lander, which had been intended to be the first of a series of low-cost "Mars Surveyor" landers sent to Mars. Prior to mission cancellation, cost overruns and technical problems caused the Lander design to be rescoped, and the planned large Athena rover was replaced by a small rover duplicating the Sojourner which was a part of the Mars Pathfinder mission. (The Athena did later make it to Mars, however, with two such rovers making up the Mars Exploration Rover Mission of 2004. The second of these, MER-B Opportunity, landed at Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander's target site, Meridiani Planum.)

The Mars In-situ-propellant-production precursor[edit]

The 2001 Surveyor lander was also intended to carry to Mars a test payload, MIP (Mars ISPP Precursor), that was to demonstrate manufacture of oxygen from the atmosphere of Mars,[1] as well as test solar cell technologies and methods of mitigating the effect of Martian dust on the power systems.[2] MIP's overall external envelope is approximately 40 x 24 x 25 cm (15.7 x 9.4 x 9.8 inches), and its mass is 8.5 kg (18.7 lb).[1] Most of the top surface was covered by various types of solar cells. MIP included five experiments :[1]

  • Mars Atmospheric Acquisition and Compression (MAAC): to selectively absorb and compress carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere; It might absorb ~ 4g CO2 over 1 to 3 nights, then release it on being heated.
  • Oxygen Generator Subsystem (OGS): to produce propellant-grade, pure oxygen; A zirconia solid-oxide oxygen generator produces oxygen by electrolyzing CO2 at elevated temperatures (750 °C).
  • Mars Array Technology Experiment (MATE): to measure the spectrum at the Mars surface and to test several advanced photovoltaic solar cells;
  • Dust Accumulation and Repulsion Test (DART): to investigate the properties of dust and to test techniques (e.g. electrostatic repulsion) to mitigate the settling of dust on to solar arrays;
  • Mars Thermal Environment & Radiator Characterization (MTERC): to measure the night sky temperature and to demonstrate the performance of high and low emissivity radiators

Heritage of the 2001 Surveyor Lander[edit]

After the cancellation of the mission, the Mars Surveyor 2001 spacecraft was put in storage. Lockheed Martin, which built the lander, had kept the nearly complete lander in an environmentally controlled clean room from 2001.[3] The spacecraft was offered as government furnished property to investigators proposing missions to the Mars Scout Program, and the spacecraft was used as the lander on the Phoenix mission; it is currently on Mars in the north polar region. In addition to using the 2001 Surveyor Lander, three of the experiments flown on the Phoenix mission are instruments that were originally built for the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander:

Note a MARDI camera was eventually used during the Curiosity rover landing, and returned landing images to Earth, also it was used on the surface of Mars


  1. ^ a b c D. Kaplan et al., THE MARS IN-SITU-PROPELLANT-PRODUCTION PRECURSOR (MIP) FLIGHT DEMONSTRATION, paper presented at Mars 2001: Integrated Science in Preparation for Sample Return and Human Exploration, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Oct. 2-4 1999, Houston, TX.
  2. ^ G. A. Landis, P. Jenkins, D. Scheiman, and C. Baraona, "MATE and DART: An Instrument Package for Characterizing Solar Energy and Atmospheric Dust on Mars", presented at Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration, July 18–20, 2000 Houston, Texas.
  3. ^ "Phoenix Mars Lander- Spacecraft". Phoenix Mars Lander. Retrieved 2006-06-09.

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