NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows fine details among mid-latitude gullies formed on the walls of a large pit within a filled meteor impact crater in the Noachis Terra region of Mars. Like the gullies originally described in June 2000, these may have formed by the seepage of groundwater. Other scientists have speculated that, elsewhere on Mars, similar gullies might form by melting of ice or snow, by liquid or gaseous carbon dioxide, or dry mass movement (landsliding) processes. The many fine tributaries in the Noachis pit crater area shown here lend support to the hypothesis that a liquid with the physical properties of water was involved. This image is located near 47.8°S, 354.9°W, and covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) wide. The scene is illuminated by sunlight from the upper 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.