News story originally written on September 22, 1997
"Mars Global Surveyor has been in orbit for only a few days, yet it already has returned an important discovery about the Red Planet," said Vice President Al Gore. Scientists found a magnetic field surrounding Mars using an instrument on the Mars Surveyor probe. The magnetic field was found on September 15th, just 4 days after Surveyor plunged into Martian orbit.
The Mars Surveyor discovered the outermost boundary of the magnetic field, known as the bow shock (see the image to the left). The Martian magnetic field is weak compared to that of Earth's magnetic field, only 1/800 the strength.
The discovery of Mars' magnetic field is a big success for Surveyor. All systems on the spacecraft are working normally.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
An important new result from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission is the definite confirmation of the presence of a magnetic field near Mars. The magnetic field leads to the formation of a magnetosphere,...more
An important new result from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission is the definite confirmation of the presence of a magnetosphere around Mars. Previous missions did not make really good measurements...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more