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Physics LibreTexts

Introduction and Review


The Mars Climate Orbiter is prepared for its mission. The laws of physics are the same everywhere, even on Mars, so the probe could be designed based on the laws of physics as discovered on earth. There is unfortunately another reason why this spacecraft is relevant to the topics of this chapter: it was destroyed attempting to enter Mars' atmosphere because engineers at Lockheed Martin forgot to convert data on engine thrusts from pounds into the metric unit of force (newtons) before giving the information to NASA. Conversions are important!