NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
On 3 September 2004, the 28th anniversary of the Viking 2 landing on Mars, we take a look back only 9 months at another place where a U.S. spacecraft landed on the red planet. This oblique red wide angle camera image obtained by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) shows the proximity of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER-A), Spirit, landing site in Gusev Crater to the martian volcano, Apollinaris Patera. The January 2004 Spirit landing site is indicated by the white circle at the bottom (south end) of the image. The volcano covers most of the upper (northern) half of the picture. The volcano's summit depression, or caldera is about 73 kilometers (~45 miles) across. This perspective view was obtained in June 2004 by MOC as MGS was beginning to roll so as to point the camera at a target located further north. The Spirit landing site is located near 14.8°S, 184.6°W. Sunlight illuminates this scene from the upper 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.