Skip Navigation: Avoid going through Home page links and jump straight to content

icon_ovu_sc3.gif icon_ovu_delta3.gif icon_ovu_mplan3.gif




Mapping operations will begin in mid-March 1998 and last until January 2000. During those two years, transmission rates as fast as 85,333 bits per second will allow Mars Global Surveyor's six main scientific instruments to send nearly 83 gigabytes of data back to Earth. The enormous amount of data, enough to fill over 130 CD-ROMs, will contribute to an extremely comprehensive study of the Martian atmosphere, surface features, mineral distribution, and magnetic properties. Click on the red bar containing the title of the science instrument for more information regarding that specific instrument.

The camera will produce a daily wide-angle image of Mars similar to weather photographs of the Earth shown on the nightly news. In addition, the narrow-angle lens will capture images of objects as small as 1.5 meters across.

The laser altimeter will bounce beams of light off of the surface to measure the heights of mountains and depths of valleys.

The thermal emission spectrometer will scan for heat emitted from Mars to study the atmosphere and to map the mineral composition of the surface.

The magnetometer will study the magnetic properties of Mars to gain insight into the interior of the planet.

The relay antenna will receive data transmitted to Surveyor from future NASA spacecraft that will land on the Martian surface.

An analysis of radio signals sent to Earth from Surveyor will reveal the precise shape of the planet and structure of the atmosphere.