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Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Arsia & Phobos

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1365, 6 February 2006

Arsia Mons with water ice clouds and shadow of Phobos on 28 January 2006.
Medium-sized view of MGS MOC Picture of the Day, updated daily
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This pair of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) color images shows early autumn clouds over the Arsia Mons volcano, plus the shadow of the innermost of the two martain moons, Phobos. The picture on the left is taken from the MOC daily global map acquired at 7.5 km (~4.7 mi) per pixel on 28 January 2006, about a week after the start of southern autumn. The picture on the right was taken at the same time, but at a higher resolution of 489 m (1604 ft) per pixel.

Both pictures are composites of MOC red and blue wide angle images, and both are oriented such that north is up and east is to the right. Arsia Mons and the other large Tharsis volcanoes commonly develop afternoon orographic (i.e., topographically-controlled) water ice clouds at this time of year. The equatorial Tharsis volcano, Pavonis Mons, is also under a deck of water ice clouds; it is located toward the upper right corner of the left, lower-resolution image.

Sunlight glints off the dusty surface and the clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere, producing the bright diagonal streak located just southeast (lower right) of Arsia Mons. A water ice haze is seen on the left side of the lower-resolution image. The dark oval to the northeast of Arsia Mons, as noted above, is the shadow of Phobos.

Additional View:

Location near: 9°S, 121°W
100 km scale bar = ~62 mi; 300 km bar = ~186 mi
Illumination from: upper left
Season: Southern 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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