An image released on 09/07/98 showing the mysterious "Giant Polygons" of the Martian northern plains. These "Polygons" were first seen by the Viking Orbiters in the 1970's...they appear to be huge cracks in the surface of the Red Planet.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
Exploring Mars - Slowly But Surely...
News story originally written on September 11, 1998
The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS)
reached Mars in September 1997. It has circled the planet nearly 600 times so far!
Problems with one of the antennae is slowing exploration down. To map the surface of Mars really well, engineers need this antenna because it transmits information so fast. However, engineers are not sure that this antenna will open correctly. In the worst-case scenario, contact could be lost with the Surveyor spacecraft. Right now, people who work for the MGS project are trying to figure out what to do. They'll make a final decision in February.
Now that's not to say that the Surveyor is sailing through its Martian orbit with nothing to do. The Surveyor continues to do just that - survey! It recently was exploring features called the "Giant Polygons" (in the image to the left).
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:
These are some of the initial findings of Mars Global Surveyor. There definitely is a magnetosphere near Mars. suggests scientists must rethink theories about the evolution of Mars. Geologic features at...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
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