Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera
Northern Plains Textures Visible Near the Terminator
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-110, 8 April 1999
Each day, Mars Global Surveyor makes 12 orbits around the red planet.
On each orbit at the present time (April 1999), the spacecraft
passes from daylight into night somewhere over the northern plains
of Mars, and re-emerges into daylight over the southern cratered highlands.
The illumination conditions near the martian terminator--the
line between night and day--are perfect for observing surface
texture and topography. This picture shows a common, rough and bumpy
texture that MOC has revealed on the northern plains of Mars. Note
the eroded impact crater at the bottom right--small black dots along its
rim are interpreted to be boulders. This image covers an area
3 kilometers (1.9 miles) wide by 8 kilometers (5 miles) long and is
illuminated by the sun shining low from the northeastern horizon (from the
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,
CA. 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, CA
and Denver, CO.
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