NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) wide angle image shows the crater in which the Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, is scheduled to land on 4 January 2004 (around 8:35 p.m., 3 January 2004, Pacific Standard Time). The white ellipse marks the approximate location of Spirit's landing zone. Gusev Crater is about 165 km (103 mi) across. The valley that enters Gusev from the south-southeast (bottom/lower right) is named Ma'adim Vallis. The dark areas on the floor of Gusev, when viewed at higher resolution, are found to be surfaces from which dust devils and wind gusts have removed or disrupted the fine, bright dust that otherwise blankets the crater floor. This image, acquired in November 2003, is located near 14.5°S, 184.6°W. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.
For more information about the Mars Exploration Rovers, visit NASA/JPL's Mars Exploration Program Web site. For more information about the work that Malin Space Science Systems and MGS MOC are doing in support of the rover missions, see: http://www.msss.com/mer_mission/.
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.