This drawing demonstrates the original orbit of Mars Global Surveyor about Mars. The orbit is shown by the white line. One can see that the original orbit of MGS was far from circular! (This drawing is not to scale. It it merely meant to show the elliptical nature of MGS's original orbit)
Click on image for full size
Image from: NASA/JPL
MGS Original Orbit
When the Mars Global Surveyor
first went into orbit around around Mars
, its orbit was elliptical. That means the orbit (shown by the white line in the picture) was shaped like an oval or an egg.
But then the Surveyor went through a series of aerobraking steps to make the orbit more like a circle!
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
Aerobraking slowed the Mars Global Surveyor down when it reached Mars. Aerobraking also helped MGS to get into the right orbit for mapping the surface of Mars. Aerobraking means that the MGS flew through...more
The Mars Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001. After a six-month journey, the Odyssey arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001. The instruments onboard the Mars Odyssey will study the minerals on the surface...more
The Mars 2005 mission is still in the planning stages. It is set to launch in the year 2005. ...more
Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. This instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The graph to the left shows the results returned from Mars...more
Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. The picture to the left shows Mars Global Surveyor's measurement of the size of the giant cliff which separates the southern...more
Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. The picture to the left shows the results returned from Mars Global Surveyor's measurement of the size of some of the Martian...more
It has been more than 30 years since America's first missions to Mars. Here are some of the instruments carried by the Mars Global Surveyor (called MGS for short). These instruments are designed to study...more