It is the year 2006; Mission Control has sent a drone exploration team to the planet Mars. A Mars orbital satellite was launched from Moon Base Alpha. The MOS (Mars Orbital Satellite) has on board, MEL (Mars Exploration Lander). MEL is equipped with a combination landing pod and Launch platform. The Launch platform has a small orbiter rocket on board to return to the MOS and eventually to Earth. Inside the landing pod are four autonomous MER (Mars Exploration Rovers). The MERs are designed to seek out and examine rock specimens. After examining the specimens and sending back data to earth the MERs bring the smaller samples back to the orbiter cargo bay for the return trip to the Moon base and eventually back to Earth.
The MOS has achieved a low orbit around Mars, and has launched the MEL to land on the planet's surface. As the MEL is on it's way to land on Mars, Mission Control notices a failure in the MOS orbital controls.
The orbit is decaying. The mission is in jeopardy. Mission Control has to make a drastic change in plans. They have chosen to operate the 4 MERs by remote control to gather as many samples as fast as they can and bring one of the MERs back on the return orbiter. The launch window is only 2 minutes after touchdown. If they miss the launch window the MOS will come crashing down to the surface.
The MEL has landed on the surface of Mars. It has touched down in the region of Hellas Planitia, a giant impact basin in the southern hemisphere. The MEL is equipped with radio and television transmission equipment to be able to send back pictures and sounds of Mars, as well as data recovered by the...