Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Lava Tubes of Olympus

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-687, 5 April 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows evidence of two collapsed lava tubes on the southeast flank of the giant martian volcano, Olympus Mons. One runs diagonally across the entire image, the other is shorter and does not extend across the whole image. The shorter one is a series of pits and troughs, rather than a continuous channel. Lava flowed in tubes under the surface; later, the roof of each tube collapsed to form a series of pits and troughs which, in the larger example, eventually coalesced to its present, channel-like form. The image is located near 16.8°N, 132.2°W, and covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across. Sunlight illuminates the scene 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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