Mars Climate Orbiter
Mars Color Imager (MARCI)
Mars Climate Orbiter MARCI Approach Image
MCO MARCI Release No. MARCI-1, 10 September 1999
This image is the first view of Mars taken by the Mars Climate
Orbiter (MCO) Mars Color Imager (MARCI). It was acquired on 7
September 1999 at about 16:30 UTC (9:30 AM PDT), when the spacecraft
was approximately 4.5 million kilometers (2.8 million miles) from the
planet. This full-scale medium angle camera view is the highest
resolution possible at this distance from Mars. At this point in its
orbit around the sun, MCO is moving slower than, and being overtaken
by, Mars (the morning side of the planet is visible in this picture).
The center longitude is around 240° W.
The Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft will reach Mars on September
23, 1999. The Mars orbit insertion (MOI) will be immediately followed
by a period of aerobraking (into November 1999). The orbiter will then
function as a relay and communication satellite for data from the Mars
Polar Lander through February 2000 before beginning its Mars-year-long
When the next MARCI image will be acquired is presently uncertain.
The original mission plan calls for operation of the camera on a
"non-interference basis" after the completion of aerobraking
and during the lander relay phase. Planning for such operations cannot
begin until after MOI.
For additional information about the Mars Climate Orbiter MARCI, Click HERE.
Image Credit: Malin Space Science Systems and JPL/NASA.
Malin Space Science Systems built the MARCI and operates the camera from
its facilities in San Diego, CA. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor
Operations Project operates the Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft with its
industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena,
CA and Denver, CO.
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