NASA Logo, Mars Global Surveyor
MGS over Olympus Mons,
 Artwork by Corby Waste; Mars Global Surveyor, Magnetic Field Experiment, MAG/ER
, GSFC UCB CESR UDBRI NSF UGRAZ RICE; cover art of GRL Vol. 28, No. 21 with blac
k background

Mars Global Surveyor Magnetic Field Experiment

Please note: This page contains links to pages outside the nasa.gov domain. [ Disclaimer]

MGS Launch and General Information

launch of MGS movie

MGS Launch

In November 1996, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory began America's return to Mars after a 20-year absence by launching the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft. The MGS mission will recover most of the lost objectives of the 1992 Mars Observer mission by delivering a single spacecraft to the red planet for a two-year study of Mars' surface, atmosphere, and gravitational and magnetic fields. Achieving the scientific objectives of the MGS mission will require placing the spacecraft in a low-altitude, near-polar, Sun-synchronous orbit around Mars and returning data over a complete Martian year.

MGS Images

lift-off of Delta rocket carrying MGS
smoke trail from MGS launch MGS in clean room before launch integration of MGS and rocket

Click on each picture for larger views.

Mars General Info

Click on picture for larger view.

Mass (kg) 6.42 x 10^23

Diameter (km) 6787

Mean density (kg/m^3) 3940

Escape velocity (m/sec) 5000

Average distance from Sun (AU) 1.524

Rotation period (length of day in Earth days) 1.026

Revolution period (length of year in Earth days) 686.98

Obliquity (tilt of axis in degrees) 25

Orbit inclination (degrees) 1.85

Orbit eccentricity (deviation from circular) 0.093

Maximum surface temperature (K) 310

Minimum surface temperature (K) 150

Visual geometric albedo (reflectivity) 0.15

Highest point on surface: Olympus Mons
(about 24 km above surrounding lava plains)

Atmospheric components: 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon

Surface materials: basaltic rock and altered materials

Contributors: Andrew Acuņa, David Brain, Monte Kaelberer, Sandy Kopman, Cisco Perin, and Theresa Valentine

USA.gov Government Made Easy
MGS MAG/ER is an international collaboration by: