Mars Polar Lander Update - December 3, 1999 - 5PM PST Date: Sat, 04 Dec 1999 01:07:08 -0800 (PST)
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
The next communications window opens at 6:27 p.m. PST today when the team will again send commands to the lander instructing it to maneuver its medium gain antenna in another attempt to look for Earth. The lander would then carry out that procedure to transmit to Earth beginning at 8:08 p.m. until 10:40 p.m. tonight PST.
Even if no transmissions are heard today mission controllers have another opportunity to hear from the lander on Saturday. This is the time the spacecraft would be transmitting if it went into a safe mode shortly after landing. Engineers would also listen for it on Sunday evening, when the spacecraft would automatically switch to its UHF radio and transmit via Mars Global Surveyor. After that, they will send commands instructing the spacecraft to swap between various hardware subsystems in case one is damaged.
The flight team's best flight path estimates are that lander most likely touched down at about 76.1 degrees south latitude, 195.3 degrees west longitude.