Global Surveyor snaps best view yet of ‘Face on Mars’ Spaceflight Now

A key aspect of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Extended Mission is the opportunity to turn the spacecraft and point the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) at specific features of interest. A chance to point the spacecraft comes about ten times a week. Throughout the Primary Mission (March 1999 – January 2001), nearly all MGS operations were conducted with the spacecraft pointing “nadir” — that is, straight down. In this orientation, opportunities to hit a specific small feature of interest were in some cases rare, and in other cases non-existant.