Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera
Floor of Alexey Tolstoy Crater
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-100, 23 March 1999
The circular, polar orbit of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) achieved in early 1999
has begun to provide many opportunities to examine features in the martian
southern hemisphere at high resolution. One of our favorite examples
(thus far) is this picture of a small portion of the floor
of Alexey Tolstoy Crater.
The top of the image shows a dark surface that is extremely rough and
rocky. The rest of the image shows a brighter, smoother material. It
appears that the bright material has been been eroded back, exposing
the lower, darker surface. The small crater that dominates this
picture is only about 850 meters (930 yards) wide and has also been
partly exhumed/exposed from beneath the bright, smooth material.
Illumination is from the upper left.
Alexey (or Aleksey) Tolstoy Crater, in which the small unnamed crater
seen in this picture occurs, was named by the International
Astronomical Union in 1982 to honor the Soviet writer who died in
1945. It is one of only a few craters on Mars designated by both the
first and last names of the honored person. The Alexey Tolstoy Crater has a
diameter of 94 kilometers (58 miles) and is centered at at 47.6°S
latitude, 234.6°W longitude in eastern Promethei Terra.
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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