Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Whole world listening for Mars Polar Lander signals
Posted: Feb. 5, 2000

  Radio telescope
The Lovell radio telescope being used to hear the possible MPL signals. Photo: Jodrell Bank Observatory
Radio telescopes in The Netherlands, England and at Stanford University in California began listening for a possible signal from Mars Polar Lander Friday.

The array of fourteen 25-meter (82-foot) antennas at Westerbork in The Netherlands as well as the 76-meter (about 250-foot) antenna at Jodrell Bank, near Manchester, England had three 30-minute listening opportunities Friday. The 45-meter (150-foot) antenna at Stanford University was also able to listen during these windows. An array located near Bologna, Italy was not used Friday.

Mission managers for Polar Lander say it will take each of the stations some time to review their data. "We want to make sure we have checked and double-checked these data before we can confirm whether or not there is a signal," said Richard Cook, project manager for Mars Polar Lander at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "I don't think we'll know anything either way until sometime next week."

Mars Polar Lander is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Lockheed Martin Astronautics Inc., Denver, Colo., is the agency's industrial partner for development and operation of the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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