Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Gullies in Nirgal

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-535, 5 November 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This is a Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) narrow angle image of gullies carved into debris on the south-facing wall of Nirgal Vallis, an ancient martian valley. The gullies were conduits for sediment that has accumulated at a point where each channel met the valley floor. The aprons of debris are superposed upon the large ripple-like dunes, suggesting that the gullies are younger than these bedforms. Gullies such as these might have been formed by a liquid, such as water, seeping from the layered bedrock exposed in the valley wall, or perhaps by mass movement of the smooth-surfaced debris that covers much of the lower two-thirds of the valley wall. This picture is located near 28.6°S, 41.5°W. The image covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) across and is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left.

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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, California. 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, California and Denver, Colorado.

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