Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Martian "Brain"

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-717, 5 May 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Most middle-latitude craters on Mars have strange landforms on their floors. Often, the floors have pitted and convoluted features that lack simple explanation. In this case, the central part of the crater floor shown in this 2004 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image bears some resemblance to the folded nature of a brain. Or not. It depends upon the "eye of the beholder," perhaps. The light-toned "ring" around the "brain" feature is more easily explained--windblown ripples and dunes. The crater occurs near 33.1°S, 91.2°W, and is illuminated from the upper left. The picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across.

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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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