Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Small Impact Crater

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1130, 22 June 2005

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a small impact crater with a "butterfly" ejecta pattern. The butterfly pattern results from an oblique impact. Not all oblique impacts result in an elliptical crater, but they can result in a non-radial pattern of ejecta distribution. The two-toned nature of the ejecta--with dark material near the crater and brighter material further away--might indicate the nature of subsurface materials. Below the surface, there may be a layer of lighter-toned material, underlain by a layer of darker material. The impact throws these materials out in a pattern that reflects the nature of the underlying layers.
Location near: 3.7°N, 348.2°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: lower left
Season: Northern Autumn

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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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