Posted online at 3: 49 on September 23, 1999m. EDT (1949 GMT) Senior author of cnn interaction by Robin Lloyd (CNN)-- On Thursday, NASA\'s most recent Mars mission was deadly near Earth due to navigation errors, causing $0. 125 billion of probes to be lost in space and could be destroyed. Engineers believe that the Mars Climate Orbiter is approaching the red planet at the right height before the launch engine slows itself down to 9,840 miles an hour, so that gravity can pull the spacecraft into Mars. The engine is firing normally, but the spacecraft flies in an orbit, making it too close to the surface of the Earth and deep into the atmosphere of Mars. \"This could lead to a loss of mission,\" said Richard Cook, project manager of Mars Surveyor 98, including Climate Orbiter. The probe is within 60 km (36 miles)of the planet -- Nearly 100 km, about 25 km (15 miles) Mission members say that at a level where the spacecraft can survive. \"We don\'t believe it can survive in terms of spacecraft,\" said project manager John mcname . \". \"It looks like there\'s something wrong with ground navigation. \"The spacecraft may have hit the Earth, but the mission members say they are still investigating the situation and don\'t know how. Richard Cook said that the steering problem was caused by poor computer commands sent to the spacecraft, problems with sending orders or other software problems, and the manager of the Mars Surveyor 98 project, including the Climate Orbiter. After 286. During the daytime journey, the Mars Climate Orbiter engine ignited as expected at EDT 5: 01, but engineers waited for a signal about 25 minutes later, and when the satellite was cruising from behind the Earth, nothing was too Engineers recalculated the position of the spacecraft on Thursday so they could relocate the huge radio antenna on Earth to receive signals from the Climate Orbiter, but the prospect of finding the spacecraft was bleak. Project scientist Richard Zurek compares the effort to find a spaceship to \"finding a signal in a needle in a cosmic haystack \". \"The satellite will map and photograph the atmosphere of Mars and serve as a communication relay for the two lander missions. The lander mission will continue to communicate with the Earth in other ways, but the scientific mission may be lost. Mcname said the ship may have been in the wrong direction for several days. In September 15, engineers adjusted the course of the spacecraft by launching a propeller to a Climate Orbiter. But before the probe approaches another object, it is difficult to determine where it is in space. On Wednesday, the Climate Orbiter looked a bit lower than expected, Cook said, but there was no hard data to confirm exactly how low it was before it arrived on Mars on Thursday. \"The trajectory has not changed. \"We do know that,\" Cook said . \" Unscheduled, steep entry into the atmosphere could damage the climate Orbiter. \"When you are below a certain level, you will be worried that the spacecraft will overheat or may break it,\" Cook said . \". This explains why the earth station did not receive a signal from a Climate Orbiter. - It may not be able to send one. Within minutes of the first post The launch signal is coming, and engineers in the control room of NASA\'s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are at NASA-TV, were grim- Facing a few minutes without a signal from a Climate Orbiter. Flight operations manager Sam Thurman alternate between staring at his squad leader, staring at flight plans and pulling his wedding band. At 5:36 a. m. He looked at his watch and had a face on his face. A few minutes later, the engineers in the control room stood up and started working on a new plan. Over the years, the results of NASA and the Russian/Soviet Mars missions have been mixed, with NASA gaining a lot of data in the 1970 s along with the Viking lander, and get it in 1997 with the Mars Pathfinder\'s new airbag landing, robot rover and spectacular color images However, NASA\'s Budget Mars watchers were lost before they arrived on Mars in 1993. Russia\'s Mars was destroyed in a launch accident in 96, and NASA has high hopes for it. Thursday morning\'s event is crucial for NASA\'s first direct search for water on Mars and close study of the weather, as the spacecraft enters orbit on the red planet, ready to engage with the two upcoming lander missions. The engineers avoided the worst. - No engine ignition This will allow the Climate Orbiter to travel through Mars into space. But another option. - Lost contact with the spacecraft or destroyed- If confirmed, it will also be a task stop. However, the permanent loss of contact with a climate Orbiter will not stop the mission of its partner spacecraft --- Mars Polar Lander- Project scientist Richard Zurek says the project will land on Mars on December 3. The Climate Orbiter will signal to Earth from the lander. Carl Pilcher, space science administrator at NASA\'s headquarters, said fewer data would be returned, but the same scientific problem could be solved. Pilcher says the lander can use its own radio transmitter to communicate with the Earth if necessary. In addition, NASA spacecraft Mars Global Surveyor, which is currently mapping Mars, can also signal the lander.