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Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Radiant Bowl

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1544, 4 August 2006

Medium-sized view of MGS MOC Picture of the Day, updated daily
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a bowl-shaped crater on the martian northern plains with a mysterious radiant pattern of zones with and without boulders and rocks. The rocky areas are seen as dark dots, the rock-free areas lack these spots. Craters like this are fairly common on the northern plains; some also occur at a similar latitudes in the southern hemisphere. When the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) team first saw these, earlier this decade, they called them"pinwheel craters". The exact cause of the boulder and streak distribution is uncertain.
Location near: 61.3°N, 88.4°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: lower left
Season: Northern Spring

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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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