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).

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