Sat, Nov 11, 2006
Ten-Year-Old Mars Surveyor Hasn't Responded For A Week
NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL) hasn't received any signals from Mars Global
Surveyor since last Sunday.
Project manager Tom Thorpe told the Houston Chronicle JPL lost
contact with the probe for two days the week before. On Sunday, the
agency received a weak carrier signal, but no data. JPL has been
trying to get Surveyor to re-aim one of its transmitters back at
The $247 million mission launched in November 1996 with the
Surveyor spacecraft to map Mars from orbit. The spacecraft sports a
powerful camera and radio equipment to transmit images back home.
That mission was to last only two years.
Surveyor has operated since then helping scientists confirm
suspicions that Mars may have once had flowing rivers much like
Earth. Aside from those ground features, Surveyor's cameras helped
mission controllers chose potential landing sites for other planned
There are three other craft circling the red planet, and two on
its surface. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Odyssey share
orbit with the European Space Agency's Mars Express. NASA's Rovers
Spirit and Opportunity still trundle about Mars' surface sending
invaluable scientific data to Earth.
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