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Knoxville — Although the Mars Polar Lander probe may be lost, research into the Red Planet’s polar regions will likely continue, a UT-Knoxville geologist said Monday.

Dr. Dan Britt said NASA has not had good luck in 1999 with its Mars probes.

“Remember, exploration is an inherently dangerous business,” Britt said. “You have to take chances at every turn.”

The $165 million spacecraft was set to enter the Martian atmosphere and release two probes that would sample ice crystals and soil samples. Neither probe had contacted NASA as of Monday.

The space agency’s Mars Polar Observer spacecraft was lost earlier when it failed to achieve a stable orbit around the planet.