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Mars Global Surveyor Update
News story originally written on January 25, 1997
According to the flight report of January 24, 1997,
the Mars Global Surveyor is in good condition and well on its way to the
dusty red planet. The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) was launched from Earth on
November 7, 1996 by NASA. Its mission is to continue the exploration of Mars
that began with the Mariner mission in 1971 and the Viking mission in the
mid-1970s. With several instruments, MGS will gather data
about the Martian landscape, magnetism, minerals, and atmosphere.
In addition, the entire planet will be photographed.
MGS is expected to reach Mars on September 12, 1997. It is currently 17.52
million kilometers (10 950 000 miles) from Earth and 125.97 million kilometers
(78 731 000 miles) from Mars. It is moving in an orbit about the Sun with a
velocity of 30.35 kilometers per second.
Once MGS reaches Mars, it will swing into orbit around the planet. It will
make many passes around the Martian globe, taking photos and getting information.
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