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Report of the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team

On March 28, NASA released the final report of the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team (MPIAT), formed to investigate the recent failure of the Mars Polar Lander. Headed by Thomas Young, the team concluded that they were "almost certain" that the accident was the result of a premature engine shutdown, probably caused by a spurious signal from one of the spacecraft's three landing legs, sending the probe into the Mars surface at 50 miles per hour. In addition to this specific failure, Young's team also cited "inadequate funding and inadequate margins" as the underlying cause. An internal Special Review Board at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) also released its report on Tuesday, concurring that premature shutdown was the "most probable cause." In the wake of these reports, NASA has announced that the planned Mars 2001 lander will be cancelled pending the approval of a new overall Mars "architecture plan." Users can read the official press release, a summary and the full text of the Young report, and the full text of the Special Review Board report in .pdf format at NASA's site.
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Date of Scout Publication
March 31st, 2000
Date Of Record Creation
April 7th, 2003 at 1:41pm
Date Of Record Release
April 7th, 2003 at 1:41pm
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