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Nozomi (“Hope”) (Japan)

Destination: Mars. Launched: July 4, 1998, from Kagoshima Space Center. Arrival: Mission canceled, Dec. 2003. Engine problems forced fuel conservation measures and delayed its scheduled 1999 arrival at Mars until 2004. Mission: To send an orbiter around Mars to study the effect of the solar wind on the planet's atmosphere for one Martian year (687 days). Its cameras will provide photographic data on cloud distribution, polar haze, dust storms, polar ice, and the planet's surface. After its successful launch, the Planet-B spacecraft was renamed Nozomi (hope). Japan's new effort made it the third nation after the United States and Russia to conduct a mission to another planet.

Problems plagued the Nozomi mission and in Dec. 2003, a week before it was scheduled to reach Mars, the mission was canceled. The craft was off course and low on fuel and scientists feared that it would crash on the surface of Mars, contaminating the planet. Firing the probe's engines did not correct the path, but did lower the chances of Nozomi's plummeting into Mars.


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