Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)

Mars Sampler, Images from Extended Mission Phases E01 through E06

MGS MOC Releases MOC2-311 to MOC2-314, 7 May 2002

This month, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) Operations Team archived the first data from the MGS Extended Mission, which began February 1, 2001. This brings the total number of images released and archived to more than 93,000. The images presented here are a sampling of the types of results acquired by the MOC during the first six months of the Extended Mission, subphases E01 (February 2001) through E06 (July 2001). The first few months were periods of intense scrutiny of the martian north polar cap, a region poorly covered by MOC during the original Mapping Mission because of frequent dust storms, haze, and wintertime darkness. The latter two months of this period were marked by increasing dust storm activity around the planet, resulting by mid-July 2001 in the biggest global dust storm period of the MGS mission. Instead of a single, global storm--a mythology that has survived since the Mariner 9 mission of 1971-1972--there were simultaneous, multiple, large regional storms. The dust raised into the martian stratosphere by these storms obscured all but the south polar cap for three months.

These four pictures are a very tiny fraction of the full range of images and topics explored by MOC during E01-E06. Imaging strategies included acquisition of stereo (3-d) by pointing the camera off-nadir at locations previously imaged by MOC. The investigation also focused on testing hypotheses formulated in the previous three years of pre-Mapping and Mapping observations. All of the E01-E06 data are newly-released this month in the MOC Gallery. New data are released every 6 months, following a labor-intensive, image-by-image data validation effort.

N. Polar Geology

Meridiani Layers

Nirgal Vallis

Dust Storms

Additional samplings of Extended Mission image results were presented in:

Malin Space Science Systems, Inc.