On this day - September 11th

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Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) was an American robotic spacecraft developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and launched November 1996. Mars Global Surveyor was a global mapping mission that examined the entire planet, from the ionosphere down through the atmosphere to the surface.

The Surveyor spacecraft was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida on 7 November 1996 aboard a Delta II rocket. The spacecraft travelled nearly 466 million miles over the course of a 300-day cruise to reach Mars on 11 September 1997.

The Mars Global Surveyor mission cost about $154 million to develop and build and $65 million to launch. Mission operations and data analysis cost approximately $20 million/year

Is there water on Mars?

On 6 December 2006 NASA released photos of two craters in Terra Sirenum and Centauri Montes which appear to show the presence of flowing water on Mars at some point between 1999 and 2001. The pictures were produced by Mars Global Surveyor and are quite possibly the spacecraft's final contribution to our knowledge of Mars and the question of whether water exists on the planet.

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