Skip Navigation: Avoid going through Home page links and jump straight to content

icon_faq_mplan3.gif icon_faq_sci3.gif icon_faq_sc3.gif



How much does the mission cost?
The Surveyor mission cost $154 million to develop. This development cost includes the price of the spacecraft, science instruments, ground support computers, mission flight plan design, and navigation design. In total, development was completed 7.7% under budget. Additional costs include $65 million for the Delta-7925 rocket that sent Surveyor to Mars, and about $20 million per year for mission operations and science analysis.

Sound expensive? To put the price of the mission in perspective, consider the fact that some recently released motion pictures have cost over $200 million in terms of filming, advertising, and distribution.

What ever happened to Mars Observer?
Mars Observer was a spacecraft that NASA launched in September 1992 with the same scientific instruments carried by Mars Global Surveyor. On 21 August 1993, several days before arriving at Mars, contact was lost with Mars Observer.

Because there were no indications of problems aboard the spacecraft prior to loss of contact, nobody knows for certain what happened. However, a NASA review board spent several months investigating the loss and concluded that the most plausible theory was that a critical failure in the propulsion system disabled Mars Observer. The board recommended changes to the design to prevent such an occurrence from happening on Mars Global Surveyor.

Mars Observer most likely flew past Mars and is now in an orbit around the Sun with an orbital period of approximately 500 days.