Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Pedestal Crater and Yardangs

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-444, 6 August 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This April 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a small meteor impact crater that has been modified by wind erosion. Two things happened after the crater formed. First, the upper few meters of surface material into which the meteor impacted was later eroded away by wind. The crater ejecta formed a protective armor that kept the material under the ejecta from been blown away. This caused the crater and ejecta to appear as if standing upon a raised platform--a feature that Mars geologists call a pedestal crater. Next, the pedestal crater was buried beneath several meters of new sediment, and then this material was eroded away by wind to form the array of sharp ridges that run across the pedestal crater's surface. These small ridges are known as yardangs. This picture is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left; it is located in west Daedalia Planum near 14.6°S, 131.9°W.

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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