Deep Space Mars Microprobes

The Deep Space 2 (DS-2) Mars Microprobes were two small penetrators attached to the cruise stage of Mars Polar Lander. Forming part of NASA's New Millennium programme, they were designed to demonstrate penetrator technology and search for sub-surface water. Sadly, no signals were received from either probe after separation, and several possible failure modes have been postulated. See Chapter 25 for a more detailed case study (Figure 19.2).

Target Objectives

Prime contractor Launch site, vehicle Launch date Arrival date

Landing site co-ordinates End(s) of mission(s) Mass(es)

Payload experiments

Delivery architecture

Thermal aspects Power aspects Communications architecture EDL architecture

Landing speed(s) Active operations

(deployments, etc.) Key references


Penetrator technology demonstration; sub-surface water detection; atmospheric density profile measurement JPL

ETR, Delta II (Delta 7425) (on Mars Polar Lander)



Scott Amundsen

75° S, 196° W (south polar layered terrain), i.e. 60 km NW

of MPL; statistically 2 km from each other Expected lifetime (limited by battery energy) of 1-3 days 3.6kg with entry shell; 2.4kg post-impact

• Atmospheric descent accelerometer (Catling, Magalhaes)

• Impact accelerometer (Lorenz, Moersch)

• Evolved water experiment (Murray, Zent, Yen)

• Soil conductivity experiment (Morgan, Presley) The Project Scientist was Suzanne Smrekar

Separation from Mars Polar Lander during approach,

10min before impact. Separation 1V< 0.3 ms"1, no spin Cold-tolerant electronics. No heaters LiSOCl2 primary batteries One-way UHF relay via Mars Global Surveyor

Aeroshell - peak deceleration of 12.4 g, at 44 km altitude. Aeroshell shatters at impact, forebody/aftbody separation during penetration

140-210 ms"1 (design envelope); 180-200 ms"1 (predicted) Sample acquisition via drill in forebody; pyrotechnic closure of sample oven door

Smrekar et al., 1999, 2001; Casani et al., 2000; Braun et al., 1999b. See also Mars Polar Lander/Deep Space 2 Press Kit, NASA, 1999.

10 cm



Figure 19.2 Deep Space 2 Mars Microprobes.

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