NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image acquired in March 2003 shows dozens of repeated layers of sedimentary rock in a western Arabia Terra crater at 8°N, 7°W. Wind has sculpted the layered forms into hills somewhat elongated toward the lower left (southwest). The dark patches at the bottom (south) end of the image are drifts of windblown sand. These sedimentary rocks might indicate that the crater was once the site of a lake---or they may result from deposition by wind in a completely dry, desert environment. Either way, these rocks have something important to say about the geologic history of Mars. The area shown is about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the left.
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, California. 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, California and Denver, Colorado.