Click on image for full size

Surveyor Keeps Going and Going...
News story originally written on September 10, 1997

NASA's Surveyor spacecraft will start orbiting Mars on Thursday, September 11th. Getting the Surveyor into orbit is tricky. If the spacecraft's plunge is too deep it will fall through the atmosphere and be burned up. If the craft's dive is too shallow is will skip off of the atmosphere flying out into deep space (much like a rock would skip off of a pond's surface).

The Surveyor will work with the famous Mars Pathfinder lander and rover. While the Pathfinder rover scouted the surface of Mars, the Surveyor's purpose is to map the surface, atmosphere and interior of Mars while in orbit around the planet.

Some interesting trivia is involved with the mission. The Surveyor probe is as tall as five Shaquille O'Neals standing on top of each other! Another interesting piece of information involves the cost of the mission. The Surveyor mission has a total cost of $154 million. It has a running time of at least 5 years. In comparison, Kevin Costner's movie Water World costs $174 million and has a running time of about 2 hours!

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

1999--A Year in Review...

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

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

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

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

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

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

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

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

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

Mother Nature's Air Conditioning

J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more

Planetary Alignment 2002

In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible at the same time in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see. You won't want to miss this!...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA