Malin Space Science Systems banner

Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

One of Two Fresh Impact Crater Sites With “Before”
and “After” Narrow Angle Mars Orbiter Camera Images

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1614, 6 December 2006

(A) MOC2-1614-a
Colorized view of the impact site; a small crater at center of dark, extensive rays, with longest rays pointing toward the southeast.
No Annotation
(B) MOC2-1614-b
Large file; grayscale view of the impact site.
Annotated ImageNo Annotation
(C) MOC2-1614-c
Two images, top is portion of MOC E13-02112, bottom is portion of MOC S16-01140; the E13 image shows what the site looked like, at MOC narrow angle camera scale, before the impact.
Annotated ImageNo Annotation
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Two of the 20 new impact craters identified by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) science operations team to have formed between May 1999 and March 2006 occur at a location that the MOC narrow angle camera imaged previously. This is surprising, given that the narrow angle camera, with its 3 kilometer- (1.9 miles)- wide field of view, has only covered about 5.2% of the martian surface. One of the two craters that formed where MOC had already taken a narrow angle image is featured here. The other is seen in an accompanying release, “Second of Two Fresh Impact Crater Sites With Before and After Narrow Angle Mars Orbiter Camera Images”.

(A) and (B) The first two figures (left and middle) show sub-frames of MOC image S16-01140, acquired on 13 March 2006. The first one has been colorized using a look-up table derived from the colors of Mars as seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. The impact site is located near 27.3°N, 91.8°W, on the upper north flank of the martian volcano, Ulysses Patera. Fine details are evident at the impact site, showing how the blast moved dust around and interacted with craters and other small obstacles on the ground. The crater has a diameter of about 19.8 ± 3.0 meters (about 65 feet).

(C) The third figure (right) shows “before” and “after” MOC narrow angle camera views of the impact site. The “before” image is a sub-frame of MOC E13-02112, acquired on 24 February 2002. The “after” image is the same as in the previous pictures, MOC S16-0114 of 13 March 2006.

Other images from Mars-orbiting spacecraft cover this location and show the impact site, including data from the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) and Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). Indeed, these other data help constrain when the impact occurred. The last orbiter image obtained before the impact was MOC R04-01354, taken on 18 April 2003. The first orbiter image that showed the impact feature was THEMIS I09540014, obtained on 7 February 2004. Thus, the impact occurred between those dates, 18 April 2003 and 7 February 2004.

Accompanying captioned releases and other material regarding present-day impact cratering on Mars:

Tips for Media Use

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.