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The First Interplanetary Internet Service Provider:
Data from Deep Space 2 and Mars Polar Lander
via the Mars Global Surveyor Mars Relay and Mars Orbiter Camera


From Mars to Earth

Data from the surface of Mars are sent by radio using either a direct-to-Earth link from an antenna on the lander, or through the Mars Relay antenna on the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. Read More...


Role of MGS MOC and Malin Space Science Systems

Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) plays a unique role in the Mars Relay process. Data received by the Mars Relay antenna on Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) are stored in the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) buffer and returned to Earth with the MOC images. MSSS decompresses the raw data and transfers them to the Mars lander teams. Read More...


Relay from Deep Space 2 (Amundsen and Scott) and Mars Polar Lander

The Mars Relay is the only link by which data are returned from the two Deep Space 2 Mars Microprobes, Amundsen and Scott. These probes do not have direct-to-Earth capability. The Mars Relay on MGS can also be used by the Mars Polar Lander--a role that has become more likely following the September 1999 loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter. Read More...


International Origins and the History of Mars Relay

In the late 1980's, international cooperation in Mars exploration led to development of the Mars Relay antenna by the French space agency. The purpose was to relay data from 2 balloons that would be sent to the red planet onboard the USSR Mars '92 mission. The relay antenna was placed aboard the US Mars Observer spacecraft for this purpose. Today the Mars Relay is aboard Mars Global Surveyor and is expected to support the Deep Space 2, Mars Polar Lander, and Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander missions. Read More...


Mars Relay Technical Details

A lander on the surface radios its data to the Mars Global Surveyor as it passes overhead. The data are transfered to the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) for storage and relay back to Earth. Relayed data are received at Malin Space Science Systems, decompressed, and provided to the lander teams. Read More...

Image Credits, this page--- Artwork modified from NASA/JPL/Caltech Mars Polar lander, Mars Global Surveyor, and Deep Space 2 artwork; Photos modified from NASA/JSC, NASA/JPL/LMA, and NASA/JPL/MSSS photos.

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