Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Cracks in Utopia

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-136, 17 June 1999



Many of the craters found on the northern plains of Mars have been partly filled or buried by some material (possibly sediment). The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image presented here (MOC2-136b, above right) shows a high-resolution view of a tiny portion of the floor of one of these northern plains craters. The crater, located in Utopia Planitia at 44°N, 258°W, is shown on the left (MOC2-136a) with a small white box to indicate the location of the MOC image. The MOC image reveals that the material covering the floor of this crater is cracked and pitted. The origin and source of material that has been deposited in this crater is unknown.

The MOC image was acquired in June 1999 and covers an area only 1.1 kilometers (0.7 miles) wide at a resolution of 1.8 meters (6 feet) per pixel. The context picture is a mosaic of Viking 2 orbiter images 010B53 and 010B55, taken in 1976. Both images are illuminated from the 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, 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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