Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera
High Resolution View of Northern Plains Surface
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-90, 12 March 1999
Until now, the vast northern plains of Mars have
largely eluded the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
because these plains were obscured by winter and springtime clouds
during most of the 1997 and 1998 Aerobraking and Science Phasing portions
of the MGS Mission. However, now in March 1999 it is summertime in the
northern hemisphere of Mars, and the northern plains are clearly in view.
This image was taken at a resolution of 3 meters (10 feet) per pixel in
characterize the nature of these plains. The image is located near
Lomonosov Crater on the Vastitas Borealis plain.
The image shows a patterned
surface with two distinct rings that are suspected to be the locations
of buried impact craters. The larger such ring (right) has dark spots
clustered in several patches along its margins--these are fields
boulders and rocks. The image covers an area 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) across and is
illuminated 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,
CA. 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, CA
and Denver, CO.
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