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Artist's conception of the Mars 2001 Surveyor Lander Spacecraft, with an inset showing details of the MIP experiment. Image courtesy of NASA Glenn Research Center

The NASA Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander was a planned Mars probe which was canceled in May 2000 in the wake of the failures of the Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander missions in late 1999. The Lander was a component of the Mars Surveyor 2001 project, and its companion spacecraft Mars Surveyor 2001 Orbiter, renamed 2001 Mars Odyssey, was launched and went into orbit about Mars on October 24, 2001.

The 2001 Surveyor lander spacecraft was built under contract to NASA by the Lockheed Martin corporation. Except for the solar arrays, the basic lander design is identical to that of the Mars Polar Lander, which had been intended to be the first of a series of low-cost "Mars Surveyor" landers sent to Mars. Prior to mission cancellation, cost overruns and technical problems caused the Lander design to be rescoped, and the planned large Athena rover was replaced by a small rover duplicating the Sojourner which was a part of the Mars Pathfinder mission. (The Athena did later make it to Mars, however, with two such rovers making up the Mars Exploration Rover Mission of 2004. The second of these, MER-B Opportunity, landed at Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander's target site, Meridiani Planum.)

The 2001 Surveyor lander was also intended to carry to Mars a test payload, MIP (Mars ISPP Precursor), that was to demonstrate manufacture of oxygen from the atmosphere of Mars,[1] as well as test solar cell technologies and methods of mitigating the effect of Martian dust on the power systems.[2]

Heritage of the 2001 Surveyor LanderEdit

After the cancellation of the mission, the Mars Surveyor 2001 spacecraft was put in storage. The spacecraft was offered as government furnished property to investigators proposing missions to the Mars Scout Program, and the spacecraft was used as the lander on the Phoenix mission; it is currently on Mars in the north polar region. In addition to using the 2001 Surveyor Lander, three of the experiments flown on the Phoenix mission are instruments that were originally built for the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander:


  1. D. Kaplan et al., THE MARS IN-SITU-PROPELLANT-PRODUCTION PRECURSOR (MIP) FLIGHT DEMONSTRATION, paper presented at Mars 2001: Integrated Science in Preparation for Sample Return and Human Exploration, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Oct. 2-4 1999, Houston, TX.
  2. G. A. Landis, P. Jenkins, D. Scheiman, and C. Baraona, "MATE and DART: An Instrument Package for Characterizing Solar Energy and Atmospheric Dust on Mars", presented at Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration, July 18–20, 2000 Houston, Texas.

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