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"Face on Mars"


NASA wishes to make it very clear that the objectives for the Mars Global Surveyor mission that have been approved as part of its authorization by the US Congress are to "globally" characterize the surface and atmospheric properties of the planet Mars. These objectives and the selection of the scientists that will gather data and perform experiments to fulfill them were reviewed by a large number of panels, including those of NASA and the National Academy of Science.

No specific features or regions have been prioritized by these objectives. Targets for observations by all of the mission's science instruments, including the high resolution imaging instrument, will be determined by the scientists selected by NASA to conduct the experiments based on their collective judgment as to the best and most cost effective use of the mission resources.

We expect that there will be widespread scientific and public interest in the new results from Mars. As such, there is a strong commitment by NASA and the MGS scientists to release data to the public on a timely basis. The project will be releasing data shortly after receipt on the Internet in a manner similar to that seen on the Clementine, Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous, and Mars Pathfinder missions.

The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft is only able to photograph features on the surface of Mars that are directly below it as it makes each orbital pass. The spacecraft will fly directly over the Cydonia region, where enigmatic features were observed in the Viking mission, a few times during its mapping mission. The Mars Global Surveyor project will announce these imaging opportunities in advance and will post the resultant images on the Internet.

For technical questions or comments on this website contact:
Kirk Goodall
(, Mars Web Engineer