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Mars Pathfinder Mission Status
October 16, 1997

      The Mars Pathfinder operations team is continuing its efforts to attempt to send commands to the Pathfinder lander while, at the same time, investigating possible scenarios to explain what might be occurring onboard the spacecraft. The last signal received from the spacecraft was on Sol 93, which was Tuesday, October 7, at 7:21 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

      There is no indication at this time that the spacecraft is no longer operating. The difficulty in communications is thought to be related to the degradation of the spacecraft battery. In the "no battery" mode of operations, the spacecraft cannot keep track of time accurately and will also be powered on for a smaller portion of each day. As time progresses, spacecraft hardware will become colder. In regular operations, by turning on the transmitter, the spacecraft hardware warms up sufficiently to operate normally. It is possible that because the team has not been able to turn on the transmitter for long periods of time over several days that the spacecraft temperatures are colder than normal. Those lower temperatures could cause the spacecraft hardware to operate differently than expected.

      In their attempts to communicate with the spacecraft recently, the operations team is focusing on both the non- operational battery scenario and the colder temperatures at which the spacecraft is probably operating. They are also experimenting with the timing of their commands in the belief that the spacecraft may be waking up later than normal due to the faulty onboard clock.

      The team will continue its daily uplink sessions with Mars Pathfinder. Daily audio updates are available by calling 1-800- 391-6654.