Learn about the Mars Observer and what kind of data it brought back to earth.
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Learn About the Mars Observer The fourth planet from the sun and quite lightly the first planet on which human explorers will one day land. Spacecraft have surveyed its immense canyons and towering volcanoes. Landers have photographed pink skies and a desert filled with boulders. Like Earth, Mars has seasons that turns summers into winters, raging dust storm sometimes sweep over the planet whacking its surface from view. While past missions to Mars have enhanced our knowledge of the planet, discoveries have led to important new questions. To answer some of these questions, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has established the mission in 1992 to map the Martian environment. Unlike Earth, Mars lost most of its atmosphere long ago—cold and dry. So cold that some of its thin carbon dioxide atmosphere froze at the winter pole. In the same way that Earth orbiting satellites mapped the globe from pole to pole, so to with the Mars observer satellite map our neighbors. The primary goals of the mission were to understand the chemical and mineral nature of the surface, to measure the surface topography and to create relief map of the entire planet. The satellite will also study the gravity field and search for a magnetic field. Mars Observer of its scientist a basic global understanding of the planet for future exploration. The planet Mars that in August 1993 after 333 days in space a craft reached Mars and an elliptical orbit around the planet. The flight path would then be carefully adjusted over period of four months until Mars Observer is in a circulate orbit around the poles. At that point, all scientific instruments would be fully deployed and made operational. Seven science experiments would spend an entire Martian year about 687 Earth days exploring the planet on a global scale. Acting as a remote weather station, Mars Observer wish to report from the planet’s thin atmosphere and changing planet. Volcanoes and other land forms would be study to determine the geological processes that it shaped the surface of Mars. A search was to be conducted for evidence of a magnetic field. Scientists wanted to know if water once flowed on its surface as early in Mariner and Viking missions had suggested. And if that was the case, where had the water gone, were conditions for life of Mars more favorable in distant past? It was clear that the data to be provided by the Mars Observer mission would help us understand the evolution of our planetary neighbors and provide a legacy to human exploration.