Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Isidis Planitia Features

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-769, 26 June 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows some of the most typical features of Isidis Planitia at full (1.5 meters -- 5 feet -- per pixel) resolution. The typical features are: (1) light-toned, ripple-like dunes and (2) mounds with summit pits. The dunes are formed by wind. The double-cone feature in the lower right quarter of the image is similar to many mounds and chains of mounds or cones found all across Isidis Planitia. These were seen at lower resolution in Viking orbiter images in the 1970s and were generally considered to be either small volcanoes or ice-cored mounds known as pingoes. With high resolution MOC images, it became apparent that many of these mounds may simply be the remnants of crater and pit chain floors, elevated above the surrounding plains as the layers of rock into which they formed were stripped away. Like much of Mars, there are more questions than answers. This image is located near 8.6°N, 268.2°W, and covers an area about 1.1 km (0.7 mi) wide. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the left/lower 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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