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Mars Polar Lander At Kennedy Space Center

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- In the Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility-2 (SAEF-2), workers lower the heat shield onto the Mars Polar Lander. Scheduled to be launched on Jan. 3, 1999, the lander is a solar-powered spacecraft designed to touch down on the Martian surface near the northern-most boundary of the south pole in order to study the water cycle there. The lander also will help scientists learn more about climate change and current resources on Mars, studying such things as frost, dust, water vapor and condensates in the Martian atmosphere. It is the second spacecraft to be launched in a pair of Mars '98 missions. The first is the Mars Climate Orbiter, which is due to be launched aboard a Delta II rocket from Launch Complex 17A on Dec. 11, 1998.

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Mars Polar Lander
Photo Number: KSC-98PC-1867
High Resolution JPEG - 1.0 MB

Workers get ready to lift the heat shield for the Mars Polar Lander off the workstand before attaching it to the lander.

Mars Polar Lander
Photo Number: KSC-98PC-1868
High Resolution JPEG - 1.2 MB

Workers lower the heat shield onto the Mars Polar Lander.

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