Jinxed planet swallows invaders
The Times, Dec 7, 1999
MARS has a reputation as the Bermuda Triangle of space, swallowing spacecraft for nearly four decades. About two out of every three missions sent to Mars have failed, prompting the semi-serious opinion among space scientists that the planet is jinxed. There is, in fact, no logical reason why so many Mars probes should have failed and why the record in exploring Venus should be much better. ... The failure this week, if so it proves, ends an ignominious year for the US space agency, NASA. Mars Climate Orbiter failed because of a confusion between metric and Imperial units and Mars Polar Lander for so far unknown reasons.
Is ET Capturing our Mars Spacecraft?
Filer's Files #49-1999
MUFON Skywatch Investigations, Dec 9, 1999
One of the few scientists who ever studied UFOs, was Germany's world-famous father of rocketry, Professor Hermann Oberth. After three years of studying the information supplied by his own and other governments, the outspoken Oberth said at a news conference in 1954: "There is no doubt in my mind that these objects (UFO's) are interplanetary craft of some sort. I am confident that they do not originate in our solar system, but they may use Mars or some other body for a way station." MUFON's Antonio Huneeus interviewed him later and Oberth said he stood by his statements. His comments have new meaning based on the Mars Polar Lander failure and the September failure of the Mars Climate Orbiter.
It is a total loss for the entire, $330 million Mars '98 project, which consisted of Polar Lander, the Deep Space 2 microprobes and the Climate Orbiter. Doesn't it seem strange that two out of every three of Earth's space probes going to Mars fail? You might remember we lost the billion dollar Mars Observer spacecraft in 1993, just as it was about to go into orbit. That gave NASA a wakeup call particularly since the Russian probes at met a similar fate. I suggest that Dan Goldin and NASA review the March 28, 1989, images showing a huge cylinder shaped craft intercepting the Soviet Phobos 2 spacecraft. The UFO interceptor is very similar to the ones reported by hundreds of witnesses here on Earth. We have multiple witness reports including pilot reports, videotapes and photos of these objects. ET may be waiting near Mars to capture or knock out our probes, but they are also here on Earth.
Space 1999: NASA's Annus Horribilis
Washington Post, Dec 22, 1999
Two botched robot missions to Mars. A comatose space telescope. A shuttle fleet grounded for months at a time. And a space station in limbo. It has been a difficult year for NASA as the agency closes the books on the final decade of the world's first century of spaceflight. The jokes by editorial cartoonists and late night comics over a spate of highly publicized failures toward year's end are stinging more than usual at an agency accustomed to success.