Mars 96 was a Russian Mars Spacecraft. The aim was designed to study the red planet's surface, inner structure, atmosphere and reactions to the solar wind. The Mars 96 mission was the heaviest Mars spacecraft (6.7 metric tons) and probably the most ambitious planetary mission ever launched by any country.
Mars-96 was launched on 16 November 1996 by a Proton rocket at Baikonur. Unfortunately, Mars-96 failed to reach escape velocity and re-entered the Earths atmosphere over the Pacific on 18 November 1996. This was due to a malfunction in the Block-D (the third stage of the Proton Rocket). The trajectory would have taken the spacecraft to Mars in 10 months.
Mars 96 was originally suppose to be launched in 1994 (originally called Mars 94), but was postponed due to Russian financial difficulties.
Mars 96 Spacecraft
Mars 96 consisted of:
orbiter (with more than
20 science instruments)
- Two landers (each with seven instruments)
- Two penetrators (with 10 instruments each) to probe the planet's subsurface. Each lander carried a penetrator.
Did you know?
Mars Express uses many payload instruments which were developed by Europe from the lost Mars 96 spacecraft. The next Russian mission will be Phobos Grunt.
Books on Mars
Mars-96: ASPERA-C Experiment: Including picture
Goto Planet Mars Page
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Updated: Tuesday 1st, April, 2014