NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
In planetary science, impact craters are "tools of the trade." They are common to all of the solid-surfaced objects in our Solar System, and are thus a good point of reference to compare different planetary bodies. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a crater that is about the same size as the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona, on the North American continent. This crater, however, is on the floor of the caldera--a large volcanic/collapse crater--of a giant martian volcano, Arsia Mons. This crater formed in volcanic rock, whereas the one in Arizona formed in sedimentary rock. Large, house-sized boulders dot the raised crater rim. This image is near 10.0°S, 120.4°W. The picture is illuminated 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.