The Mars Global Surveyor is a project launched into outer space by NASA in 1996. This little satellite is robust in design, since there are currently no means for a manned mission to fix any problems. This craft carries nice cameras and has nice bandwidth to get the info back to the home planet.

From the JPL website:
During those two years, transmission rates as fast as 85,333 bits per second will allow Mars Global Surveyor's six main scientific instruments to send nearly 83 gigabytes of data back to Earth. (whoa).

Also on board are these items: LASER altimiter, magnetometer, electron reflectometer, thermal emission spectrometer.

The "completion" of the mission was scheduled for January of 2000. Recently, however (May 22, 2000), NASA released 20,000 new photographs, and the surveyor is showing no signs of stopping.

This project was one of NASA's new "cheap and effective" space missions.

it's a shame they lost the lander, though...