Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

MOC's 200,000th Image

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1111, 03 June 2005

MOC2-1111a; 200,000th Image

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
MOC2-1111b; 200,001st Image (red wide angle context)

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

On 17 May 2005, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) acquired its 200,000th image since the spacecraft began orbiting Mars on 12 September 1997. The image (left, MOC2-1111a), showing details on the floor and in the ejecta blanket of a northern middle-latitude martian crater, was received on Earth the following day. Its red wide angle context frame was also acquired at the same time (right, MOC2-1111b).

This image marks a milestone for the Mars Global Surveyor mission, which has returned nearly four times the number of images of both the Viking 1 and Viking 2 orbiters, combined, in the late 1970s. An additional point of comparison, the two Viking camera systems returned about 70 Gbytes of data; MOC thus far has returned 365 Gbytes (after decompression).

The MOC is really a system consisting of three cameras: (1) a narrow angle camera, essentially a telescope, that obtains extremely high resolution views ranging from about 0.5 to about 14 meters per pixel; (2) a red wide angle camera that is used to take context images, daily global maps, and other selected images; and (3) a blue wide angle camera that also acquires daily global maps, views of the martian limb, and other selected targets. Both wide angle cameras can obtain images with resolutions in the range of 0.24 to 7.5 kilometers per pixel.

The first images acquired by MOC were taken during the third orbit of MGS on 15 September 1997. MGS conducted a pre-mission series of observations between mid-September 1997 and February 1999. Then, MGS conducted its 1 Mars year Primary Mission from March 1999 through January 2001. The Extended Mission phase for MGS began in February 2001 and continues to this day.

Data from the MGS MOC have contributed greatly over the past eight years to the on-going revolution in Mars science. As less than 5% of the martian surface has been covered by MOC's high resolution (narrow angle) camera system, one never knows from one day to the next whether a new discovery will be made. A few of the highlights of MOC's findings include:

MOC's 100,000th image was received in November 2001. It can be viewed here: MOC's 100,000th Image.

MOC's 1st image, received in September 1997, was reviewed in September 1999: MGS MOC Celebrates 2 Years in Orbit!.

More than 187,000 of MOC's images have already been validated and archived with the NASA Planetary Data System. These images can be viewed in the MSSS MOC Gallery.

Location near: 32.7°N, 185.1°W
Narrow Angle Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi); Context Image width: ~115 km (~71 mi)
Illumination from: lower left
Season: Northern Autumn

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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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