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Science Event of the Week
In 1998, the Mars Climate Orbiter was successfully launched on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida. However, the probe disappeared on Sept. 23, 1999, apparently destroyed because scientists had failed to convert English measures to metric values. The orbiter's instruments would have monitored the Martian atmosphere and image the planet's surface on a daily basis for one Martian year (1.8 Earth years) with observations of the appearance and movement of atmospheric dust and water vapor, as well as characterizing seasonal changes on the surface. Images of the surface features could have provided important clues to the planet's early climate history and possible subsurface liquid water reserves.