NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This January 2004 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a chain of pits formed in a trough of the Tractus Fossae region near 24.1°N, 103.4°W. The troughs are graben, which are formed by faults cutting rock as the crust is stretched and extended, in this case toward the east and toward the west (right and left). As the rocks broke and moved along the fault lines that create the sharp cliffs on either side of the troughs, some materials between the trough walls collapsed along the fault trend to form the chain of pits. The picture covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 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.