Mars Global Surveyor

Mars Observer and Mars Global Surveyor

Mars Global Surveyor is the name given to a small orbiter, to be launched in November 1996, that will recover some of the science goals of the lost Mars Observer mission.

MGS will be roughly half the mass and size of Mars Observer. The image above shows both spacecraft in their mapping configurations. (It was rendered at MSSS from our own preliminary models and is not "official".)

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Instrument Selection

The instruments selected for Mars Global Surveyor are the Mars Orbital [previously, Observer] Camera (MSSS/Caltech), the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Arizona State University/Hughes Santa Barbara Research Center), the Mars Orbiter [previously, Observer] Laser Altimeter (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), the Magnetometer/Electron Reflectometer (GSFC), and the Mars Relay [previously, Mars Balloon Relay] (French National Center for Space Exploration, CNES). Radio science will also be done, via an Ultrastable Oscillator in the spacecraft's downlink subsystem.

The other two instruments on Mars Observer, the Gamma Ray Spectrometer (UofA/MMAG) and the Pressure-Modulator Infrared Radiometer (JPL), will be flown on a small orbiter to be launched in 1998.

Mars Orbital Camera

The Mars Orbital Camera (Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter Camera), or MOC 2, is the spare instrument fabricated during the Mars Observer mission. The investigation's science objectives, hardware implementation, ground data system, and science analysis plans are essentially identical to those of the Mars Observer investigation. These are described in a series of papers published prior to the loss of Mars Observer.

Additional materials available include:

Spacecraft Selection

The Request For Proposals for the spacecraft was issued in early April, and responses were received in mid-May. On 8 July, JPL announced that Martin Marietta Technologies Inc. of Denver, Colorado, had been selected to build Mars Global Surveyor.

MGS Project WWW Server

Mars Global Surveyor Project server at JPL

MGS Timetable

3 to 24 Nov 1996
Launch on Delta II 7925

10 to 27 Sep 1997
Mars Orbit Insertion into capture orbit

Oct 1997 to Jan 1998
aerobraking to 380-km circular mapping orbit

late Jan 1998
Mapping mission starts

Preliminary version of the MGS Mission Plan

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