Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) High Resolution Images:
Some Results From The First 6 Weeks In Orbit

Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images acquired shortly after orbit insertion were relatively poor in both resolution and image quality. This poor performance was solely the result of low sunlight conditions and the relative distance to the planet, both of which have been progressively improving over the past six weeks. Some of the better images are used below to illustrate how the MOC images provide substantially better views of the martian surface than have ever been recorded previously from orbit. The finder chart below provides an overall view of the areas imaged, using a U. S. Geological Survey shaded relief map. The approximate locations of the MOC images to be discussed are indicated by their ID numbers (1303, 2306, 2802).

JPEG = 311 KBytes

Click on the images or on the name below each to proceed to that release

Tithonium/Ius Chasmata (Orbit 13, Image 3)

Schiaparelli Crater (Orbit 23, Image 6)

Ganges Chasma (Orbit 28, Image 2)

Launched on November 7, 1996, Mars Global Surveyor entered Mars orbit on Thursday, September 11, 1997. The original mission plan called for using friction with the planet's atmosphere to reduce the orbital energy, leading to a two-year mapping mission from close, circular orbit (beginning in March 1998). Owing to difficulties with one of the two solar panels, aerobraking was suspended in mid-October and resumed in November 8. Many of the original objectives of the mission, and in particular those of the camera, are likely to be accomplished as the mission progresses.

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.


To MSSS Mars Page

Return to MSSS Home Page