As of March 7, 1998, the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft has completed 163 orbits of Mars, during which it has reduced its orbital period from 45 to 13¾ hrs. The local time at the equator of the orbit is now roughly 11 AM. The spacecraft remains healthy and operating normally. Following the Mars Surveyor Operations Project's Delta-Critical Design Review the first week of March, the Project is now preparing to complete the first phase of aerobraking, raising the periapsis out of the atmosphere to suspend aerobraking until early September 1998. The planned orbital period (11.6 hr) should be reached around the end of March. At that time, the spacecraft will be placed in what is called the Science Phasing Orbit (or SPO), and enter a period that consists of three phases:
The Mars Orbiter Camera was turned off in mid-February, when the orbital period of the MGS spacecraft became too short to support both the playback of science data and the engineering activities associated with aerobraking. Although there is a low probability of any harm coming to the instrument while we are not receiving data from it, we felt it prudent to turn the camera off when not using it. This allowed us to turn on the heaters used to protect the instrument from getting too cold. Typical average temperatures within the camera rose from very near their coldest limits to as much as 20°C (36°F) warmer...what we call "nice and toasty." Preparations to resume imaging in early April are now underway.
Click on images or the name below each image to proceed to that release.
South Polar Layered Deposits at 75°S, 213°W (MS'98 Landing Site)
(Orbit 95, Image 3 and 5)
Ophir Chasma Interior Deposit (Orbit 82, Image 4)
Hebes Mensa (Hydraotes Chaos): Chaotic Terrain Escarpment (Orbit 88, Image 5)
Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission. MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, CA. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor Operations Project operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena, CA and Denver, CO.
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