Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tonight's Sky for September 11: Mars Global Surveyor Arrives at Mars (1997)

It was on this date in 1997 that the Mars Global Surveyor mission arrived at the Red Planet. Launched for Mars in On November 7, 1996, scientists had high hopes for this mission, especially thanks to its coming on the heels of the failed Mars Observer, which was lost in 1993. The goal: study Mars from the top of its barely-there atmosphere down to its surface and, for the first time, create a global map of the planet. Unlike Observer, Surveyor performed flawlessly, operating in Martian orbit for over 9 years. During that time, Surveyor mapped the planet, analyzed its atmospheric and surface composition, and scouted out possible landing areas for future surface missions among many other achievements.

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