Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Crater Cluster Near Pathfinder

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-552, 22 November 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This October 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a portion of a large cluster of small craters located northeast of the Mars Pathfinder landing site, on the plains scoured by the old Ares and Tiu Valles outflow channels. Clusters of craters such as these usually form as secondary impacts. Secondary impacts are the result of a larger, single meteor, asteroid, or cometary impact---the impact ejects debris that falls elsewhere and creates smaller, secondary craters. In other words, the material that hit the ground to form these craters did not come from space, it came from Mars. The craters are located near 19.9°N, 33.3°W. The image shows an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide, and is illuminated by sunlight from the lower left.

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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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