NASA plans to send two spacecraft to Mars at every launch opportunity for the next decade. An orbiter and a lander, to be built by Lockeed Martin of Denver, Colorado, will be sent toward the Red Planet in late 1998. NASA has selected the Pressure Modulator Infrared Radiometer (PMIRR), an atmospheric sounding instrument, as the main experiment for the orbiter. There was a similar PMIRR on the lost Mars Observer. The remaining Mars Observer instrument not on the 1996 or 1998 missions is the Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS), headed by Dr. William Boynton of the University of Arizona in Tucson. NASA decided the GRS will fly on a different orbiter that will launch in 2001.
Other instruments for the 1998 orbiter and lander will be selected in October after NASA reviews proposals to be submitted by August 8th. Construction of the new spacecraft will begin in October 1995.
The orbiter is slated to launch in December 1998 and reach Mars in September 1999. It should collect data at least into 2002. The lander might launch in either January or February 1999, arriving at Mars in August 1999 or January 2000. A report released by NASA earlier this year recommended that the lander should go somewhere in Mars' southern hemisphere.
<--- Mars Surveyor 1998 Orbiter.
The Mars Surveyor 1998 Lander will launch in early 1999.