NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Craters in the middle latitudes of Mars often have strangely-textured floors. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image of a crater near 40.2°N, 184.5°W provides an example. The original crater has been somewhat eroded and much of its interior has been filled with sediment since it formed. The origin of the strange texture is unknown; speculations about most mid-latitude textures tend to focus on the idea that, somehow, subliming ground ice may have been involved. The texture on the floor of the crater is similar to, but not quite the same as, the texture on the nearby surfaces to the north and south of the crater. This picture covers an area 1.4 km (0.9 mi) wide. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the 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.