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Mars Polar Lander
Cruise Configuration
1/24 Scale Model

We Invite You To Build Your Own Mars Polar Lander

First, browse the assembly instructions (PDF file). Then, if you decide to tackle the project, you can download the two parts sheets (PDF file) to print, cut out, and glue together.

You'll need a printer, some card stock, and a few other items listed in the assembly instructions. The parts sheets are available as PDF files, which can be read by the Adobe Acrobat Reader on just about any kind of computer. You may download the Adobe Acrobat Reader from Adobe free of charge.

This detailed scale model is a construction project which is probably not appropriate for people younger than about ten years of age, depending on skill and motivation. Children should have adult supervision to assemble the model. Assembly will require at least 4 hours of time and great care. Once you assemble the model, we guarantee you'll know the cruise configuration of the Mars Polar Lander spacecraft very well indeed!

The launch of the Mars Polar Lander was on a Boeing Delta II rocket on January 3, 1999. The Mars Polar Lander entered the Martian atmosphere directly from the hyperbolic transfer orbit on December 3, 1999, and was designed to decelerate to a soft landing using a heat shield to aerobrake, a parachute, and actively guided propulsion to touchdown on the surface of Mars. Unfortunately, the lander telemetry signal was never acquired after entry into the Martian atmosphere, and the spacecraft was declared lost. The Lander was targeted to the northernmost boundary of the polar layered deposits at a high southern latitude site, about 76 degrees south latitude. The 90-day surface science mission was planned to start during late spring on Mars in the southern hemisphere and extend through the early Martian summer season.

The Lander carried the Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor (MVACS) instrument suite, which was designed to perform in situ investigations to address the science theme "Volatiles and Climate History", the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI), and a LIDAR instrument supplied by the Russian Space Agency. The Lander was designed to search for near-surface ice and possible surface records of cyclic climate change, and characterize physical processes key to the seasonal cycles of water, carbon dioxide and dust on Mars.

The Mars Surveyor spacecraft was designed and manufactured at Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colorado. Model design completed by Greg Bollendonk, Mars Surveyor Program, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colorado (an after-hours project).

Copyright (C) 1999 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. All rights reserved. Permission for commercial reproduction other than for single-school in-classroom use must be obtained from JPL Commercial Programs Office.

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