Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) High Resolution Images:
Complex Floor Deposits Within Western Ganges Chasma, Valles Marineris

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera Release:     MOC2-17A, -17B, -17C
Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera Image IDs:          562323404.280
Click on image for full resolution version.

(B) (C)

JPEG = 95 KBytes, (B) JPEG = 137 KByte, (C) JPEG = 170 KBytes

Note: This MOC image is made available in order to share with the public the excitement of new discoveries being made via the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The image may be reproduced only if the image is credited to "Malin Space Science Systems/NASA". Release of this image does not constitute a release of scientific data. The image and its caption should not be referenced in the scientific literature. Full data releases to the scientific community are scheduled by the Mars Global Surveyor Project and NASA Planetary Data System. Typically, data will be released after a 6 month calibration and validation period.

Click Here for more information on MGS data release and archiving plans.

On October 26, 1997, MOC took this image of Mars 10 minutes after its closest approach to the planet (1:46 AM PST). The view shows the floor of western Ganges Chasma (7.8°S 51.8°W), covering an area 2.6 km (1.6 miles) wide by 45.4 km (28.2 miles) long at a resolution of 5 by 7.4 meters (16.4 by 24.3 feet) per picture element. The local time on Mars when the picture was taken was 4:35 PM.

This image, portions of which are presented in (B) and (C) at full resolution, is roughly 50 times better than the previous best image, shown in (A). (B) shows the area near the canyon wall, where large block of the upland surface have slumped down into the canyon. Close inspection of this image shows numerous small dark dots that are in fact individual rocks on the surface of Mars. These rocks vary from the size of a small automobile to the size of a house, have fallen down steep slopes. (C) shows a remarkable landscape of ridges and troughs that very closely resemble folded and warped sediments on Earth. This is the first time such warped beds have been seen on Mars, and neither their origin nor their occurrence within Ganges Chasma is understood. It is possible these are beds folded by a large landslide, but that would be very unusual. Alternatively, these may be folded sedimentary beds, similar to horizontal beds seen elsewhere in Ganges Chasma. However, what forces then folded these particular beds while leaving the others undeformed is unknown. Future imaging within this and the other Valles Marineris will be used to address such issues.

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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