NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) experiment was designed to study the geology and geomorphology of Mars by providing images comparable in resolution to the aerial photographs used by terrestrial geologists in conducting their field work. For over six years, the MOC narrow angle camera has been returning pictures that underscore, time and again, the layered nature of the upper martian crust. It is from layered rock that geologists will one day be able to decipher the history of the red planet. This example of layered rock exposures occurs in eastern Candor Chasma, one of the troughs of the Valles Marineris system. The picture is located near 8.0°S, 67.0°W, and covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide. The image is illuminated by sunlight 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.