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The Race to Mars 1965 1969 1971-72 1973-74 1976 1988 1993 1996 1997 1999 2001 2003-04 2005 Milestones in exploration

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The ill-fated Mars Observer space craft, America's first mission to the Red Planet in 18 years

After a gap of 18 years, America goes back to the Red Planet.

Its Mars Observer space craft falls silent three days before going into orbit around the planet.

Communication is lost and the space craft is never heard from again.


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