Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera Release: MOC2-17A, -17B, -17C Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera Image IDs: 562323404.280 P028_02
JPEG = 95 KBytes, (B) JPEG = 137 KByte, (C) JPEG = 170 KBytes
On October 26, 1997, MOC took this image of Mars 10 minutes after its closest approach to the planet (1:46 AM PST). The view shows the floor of western Ganges Chasma (7.8°S 51.8°W), covering an area 2.6 km (1.6 miles) wide by 45.4 km (28.2 miles) long at a resolution of 5 by 7.4 meters (16.4 by 24.3 feet) per picture element. The local time on Mars when the picture was taken was 4:35 PM.
This image, portions of which are presented in (B) and (C) at full resolution, is roughly 50 times better than the previous best image, shown in (A). (B) shows the area near the canyon wall, where large block of the upland surface have slumped down into the canyon. Close inspection of this image shows numerous small dark dots that are in fact individual rocks on the surface of Mars. These rocks vary from the size of a small automobile to the size of a house, have fallen down steep slopes. (C) shows a remarkable landscape of ridges and troughs that very closely resemble folded and warped sediments on Earth. This is the first time such warped beds have been seen on Mars, and neither their origin nor their occurrence within Ganges Chasma is understood. It is possible these are beds folded by a large landslide, but that would be very unusual. Alternatively, these may be folded sedimentary beds, similar to horizontal beds seen elsewhere in Ganges Chasma. However, what forces then folded these particular beds while leaving the others undeformed is unknown. Future imaging within this and the other Valles Marineris will be used to address such issues.
Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission. MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, CA. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor Operations Project operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena, CA and Denver, CO.
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