NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a thick, massive outcrop of light-toned rock exposed within eastern Candor Chasma, part of the vast Valles Marineris trough system. Dark, windblown sand has banked against the lower outcrop slopes. Outcrops such as this in the Valles Marineris chasms have been known since Mariner 9 images were obtained in 1972. However, the debate as to whether these represent sedimentary or igneous rocks has not been settled within the Mars science community. In either case, they have the physical properties of sedimentary rock (that is, they are formed of fine-grained materials), but some igneous rocks made up of volcanic ash may also exhibit these properties. This image is located near 7.8°S, 65.3°W, and covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) across. The scene is illuminated by sunlight from the lower left.
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.