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Monday, December 4, 2017

Mars Global Surveyor


     Mars Global Surveyor was a American spacecraft designed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. It was intended to map the ionosphere of Mars from its surface and it was a part of Mars Exploration Program. It also acted a relay between Martian Rovers, Landers to the Earth. Its mission was officially began in November  1996 and ended in 2007 of January.


     Mars Global Surveyor was launched on 7th November 1996 from Cape Canaveral Airforce Station located in Florida. It was carried by Delta-II Rocket. It continued a travelling period of 300 days towards Mars nearly about 750 million kilometers. Finally it reached Mars on 11th September 1997 and it was injected into Martian orbit after 22 minutes of Mars Orbital Insertion.

Scientific Instruments Carried:
  • MOC - Mars Orbiter Camera
  • MOLA - Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter
  • TES - Thermal Emission Spectrometer
  • MAG - Magnetometer
  • ER - Electron Reflectometer
  • USO/RS - Ultrastable Oscillator for Doppler Measurements
Scientific Objectives:
  1. It characterised surface and geological process on Mars
  2. it analysed the distribution of minerals, rocks and ice and studied its physical properties
  3. It determined the Topography, shape of the planet and its gravitational field
  4. It mapped the nature of Magnetic field of Mars using Magnetometer
  5. it monitored the weather condition and surface temperature of Mars
  6. It studied the interaction of Martian atmosphere to its Surface
Achievements during Extended Mission:
  • It continuously monitored weather condition with Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • It imaged the landind site of 2007 Phoenix Lander and 2011 Curiosity Rover
  • Observation of scientifically interested sites and thier sedimentary features
  • Observed the surface changes occured due to the sust storms and ice caps.
Mission Outcomes:

     The spacecraft orbited the Mars after its primary mission . It constantly orbited on its path and took several images of already imaged surfaces at various angles. It studied much more than the primary mission. Some of the results were,

  •  The planet was found to have layered crust to a depth of 10 kilometers, the layer was formed by the deposition of large amounts of material .
  • Creaters found in the northern hemisphere were similar to the creaters on southern hemisphere, but creters were buried in the northern hemisphere
  • It also had some buried Impact creaters
  • Past creaters which are buried are now being exposed by erosion.
  • Hundreds of gullies were discovered, which are formed by the liquid water, possible in recent times.
  *Results from the Mars Global Surveyor's primary mission from 1996 to 2001 were published in the journal of Geophysical Rsearch by M>malin and K.Edgett.

End of the Mission:

     National Aeronautics Space Administration lost contact from Mars Global Surveyor on 2 November 2006 during an attempt to command the spacecraft, after a long time a fiant signal was received indicating that the spacecraft system entered into safe mode and awaiting for further commands. On 20 November 2006, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter attempted to image the position of Mars Global Surveyor, but the attempt was unsuccessful. On 13th April 2007, NASA announced that, the communication from MGS was lost, and also the spacecraft was lost due to the flaw in the parameter update in the system's software.


     The spacecraft was lost due to the human error, when two independent person updates the same copies of software with different parameters. It was planned to survive for a period of 1 Martian Year which equals 2 Earth years. But the mission was extended by NASA for three times. It achieved its great goal during its period from 1996 to 2006.

Mars Global Surveyor Additional Information:

Spacecraft Type  -  Mars Orbiter
Launch Date  -  7 November 1996
Rocket  - Delta-II Rocket
Launch Site  -  Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Last contact  -  2 November 2006
Duration of Mission  -  9 Years 11 Months and 26 Days
Orbital Insertion  -  12 September 1997
Country  -  United States (NASA)
Official Website  -

Tags: Mars Global Surveyor | Mars Orbiters | Mars Missions

Related Posts: Mars Climate Orbiter | Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter | 2001 Mars Odyssey | Curiosity Rover | Mariner 4 | Mariner 6 | Mariner 7 |Mariner 9 | Mangalyaan | MAVEN | ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter


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