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Overview of the Mars Global Surveyor mission

Albee, Arden L. and Arvidson, Raymond E. and Palluconi, Frank and Thorpe, Thomas (2001) Overview of the Mars Global Surveyor mission. Journal of Geophysical Research E, 106 (E10). pp. 23291-23316. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/2000JE001306.

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The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft was placed into Mars orbit on September 11, 1997, and by March 9, 1999, had slowly circularized through aerobraking to a Sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit with an average altitude of 378 km. The science payload includes the Mars Orbiter Camera, Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, Thermal Emission Spectrometer, Ultrastable Oscillator (for Radio Science experiments), and Magnetometer/Electron Reflectometer package. In addition, the spacecraft accelerometers and horizon sensors were used to study atmospheric dynamics during aerobraking. Observations are processed to standard products by the instrument teams and released as documented archive volumes on 6-month centers by the Planetary Data System. Significant results have been obtained from observations of the interior, surface, and atmosphere. For example, Mars does not now have an active magnetic field, although strong remanent magnetization features exist in the ancient crust. These results imply that an internal dynamo ceased operation early in geologic time. Altimetry and gravity data indicate that the crust is thickest under the south pole, thinning northward from the cratered terrain to the northern plains. Analysis of altimetry data demonstrates that Mars is “egg-shaped” with gravitational equipotential contours that show that channel systems in the southern highlands drained to the north, largely to the Chryse trough. A closed contour in the northern plains is consistent with the existence of a great northern ocean. Emission spectra of low-albedo regions show that basaltic rocks dominate spectral signatures on the southern highlands, whereas basaltic andesites dominate the northern lowlands. The bright regions show nondiagnostic spectra, similar to that of dust in the atmosphere. Signatures of aqueous minerals (e.g., clays, carbonates, and sulfates) are noticeably absent from the emission spectra. High spatial resolution images show that the surface has been extensively modified by wind and that layering is nearly ubiquitous, implying that a complex history of events is recorded in surface and near-surface materials. Altimetry data imply that both permanent caps are composed of water ice and dust, with seasonal covers of carbon dioxide frost. Finally, the altimetry data, coupled with thousands of atmospheric profiles, are providing new boundary conditions and dynamic controls for the generation and testing of more realistic dynamic models of the global circulation of the atmosphere.

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Arvidson, Raymond E.0000-0002-2854-0362
Additional Information:© 2001 American Geophysical Union. Received June 30, 2000; revised February 9, 2001; accepted February 12, 2001. The research was carried out by the Mars Global Surveyor Project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A. A. was Project Scientist, F.P. was Deputy Project Scientist, and T.T. was Science Manager and subsequently Mission Manager and Project Manager of the Project. R.E.A. was supported as a Mars Surveyor Program Interdisciplinary Scientist by JPL contract 1204044 to Washington University. The authors acknowledge the contribution of the entire project staff, including their colleagues at Lockheed Martin Aerospace and at all the home institutions of the instrument Principal Investigators and the Radio Science Team Leader. Many of the key project members and scientists were part of the early studies in 1981-1982 that led to Mars Observer and then to Mars Global Surveyor. Glenn Cunningham was project manager during the period from when Mars Observer was lost until the beginning of the mappingp eriod. His contribution to the amazing success of MGS was outstanding; upon three occasions he made difficult decisions that preserved the scientific integrity of the mission. As spacecraft system manager throughout Mars Observer and MGS development, George Pace was always watchful for "creeping science requirements", but his selection of a larger HGA nearly doubled the capability for science downlink. Much of this work was drawn from a variety of project documents and we thank their authors, particularly Glenn Cunningham, Pat Esposito, Wayne Lee, and George Pace. Pat Esposito carefully checked the sections on mission and mission operations. We thank Pat Esposito, Wayne Lee, Mike Malin, Tim Parker, and Susan Slavney for help in figure and table generation.
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Issue or Number:E10
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Official Citation:Albee, A. L., R. E. Arvidson, F. Palluconi, and T. Thorpe (2001), Overview of the Mars Global Surveyor mission, J. Geophys. Res., 106(E10), 23291–23316, doi:10.1029/2000JE001306.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:45890
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:27 May 2014 16:05
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:17

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