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Engineers are striving to restore full communications with NASA's Mars Global Surveyor on the 10th anniversary of the spacecraft's Nov. 7, 1996, launch.
The Global Surveyor, which lost contact with Earth in November, was the oldest of six active spacecraft on or circling Mars. NASA has made several unsuccessful attempts to locate the missing probe.
"We're declaring it most likely dead," McCuistion said. "I doubt we will see it again."
Human error triggered a cascade of events that caused the battery to fail on the Mars Global Surveyor last year, according to a preliminary report released Friday.
An internal NASA board determined that power loss likely doomed the spacecraft after a decade of meticulously mapping the Red Planet.
But the problems actually began in 2005 when a routine technical update to onboard computers caused inconsistencies in the spacecraft's memory. The board concluded that engineers didn't catch the mistakes because the existing procedures to do so were inadequate.