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Japan Abandons Troubled Mars Mission - 2003-12-09


Japan has abandoned its troubled Mars exploration mission after a final attempt to put the damaged Nozomi probe back on course failed.

Japanese space officials said Tuesday they have given up on their goal of placing Nozomi in orbit around the red planet.

The probe was launched in 1998 with the intention studying whether Mars had a magnetic field, among other aspects of the planet.

But Nozomi experienced problems with its fuel consumption in its first year after launch and was then damaged by solar flares.

Japan's space program suffered another setback last month when it had to destroy an H-2-A rocket that malfunctioned after takeoff. The rocket was carrying a pair of spy satellites that were also destroyed in the blast.

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