The MARS 96 mission was designed to send an orbiter, two small autonomous stations, and two surface penetrators to Mars in order to investigate the evolution of the planet by studying its physical and chemical processes. The Mars 96 Orbiter carried 12 instruments created to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars, as well as 7 instruments to study plasma, fields and particles in Mars ionosphere. The Mars 96 spacecraft was launched on November 16, 1996 into the orbit, but failed to achieve the insertion into Mars cruise trajectory. Poland provided instrument subsystems that became a part of three experiments:
- ELISMA: a plasma wave complex, the frequency range 2-200kHz.
- ASPERA-C: an experiment detecting the fluxes of ions and neutral particles in interplanetary space and in the vicinity of Mars.
- PFS: an experiment on remote sensing study of the Martian atmosphere in the infrared spectrum.