Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Yardangs and Exhumation

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-359, 13 May 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows the results of wind erosion of a thick deposit of fine-grained, cemented material. The ridges oriented roughly from upper left to lower right (northwest to southeast) are called yardangs. Similar features occur in some of Earth's desert regions. The flat surface with narrow, sinuous ridges at the top (north) end of the picture is interpreted to be an ancient lava plain that is being slowly revealed as the overlying materials are eroded away. This picture is located near 13.2°N, 159.9°W. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the left/lower 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.

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