Next Stop: Mars
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the sun sets on March 1, the lander will be frozen in place for
more than an Earth year during the cold and dark Martian winter.
In 2001, when spring returns to the southern polar region of Mars,
there is a slight chance the thawed lander could come back to life.
NASA's Mars program, meanwhile, will remain in perpetual motion.
Future Mars Surveyor Program missions are planned for roughly every
other year through 2013.
is part of a long-term process of getting to know our nearest neighbor
in space," says Paige. "Eventually, traveling to Mars will not be
in 1999, there's nothing mundane about a journey to the Red Planet.
So once this is all over, MVACS team members will give tours of
the mission control facility, sharing the wonders of the Mars journey.
"We hope to inspire a new generation of students," Paige says. At
that point, a university professor could believe his mission was