This is an image of the Mars '98 spacecraft being prepared for launch.
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An Overview of the Mars '98 mission
News story originally written on April 24, 1998

The countdown has started for the Mars '98 mission. Only 230 days until the launch of the Mars Orbiter! Here are the details!

The Mars '98 mission has been designed to be a study of Martian climate, weather, and surface properties at the Martian south pole. Mars '98 is to build upon the discoveries of the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor missions by digging into the Martian surface in search of water. The south pole of Mars is an important region because of the unusual terrain found there, and the possible importance of the region to the overall weather and climate of Mars.

Mars '98 consists of two spacecraft, one a lander dubbed the Martian Polar Lander, which will land on the surface of Mars and dig into the soil with a robot arm, and an orbiter, which will remain in orbit around Mars, dubbed the Martian Climate Orbiter.

The search for water, and the findings from that search will help answer questions about climate processes in general, and the Terrestrial and Martian climates in particular.

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