Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) High Resolution Images:
South Polar Layered Deposits near Proposed Mars Surveyor '98 Landing Site


Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera Release:          MOC2-25A, -25B, -25C
Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera Image ID:         567418687.7203 (P072-03)
                                                           567418697.7204 (P072-04)
Small GIF version: 250 KB - Large GIF version: 3.4 MB

(A) Mosaic of three Viking Orbiter images (383B47, 383B68, and 383B70), acquired at a scale of 175 meters (574 feet) per pixel, and reproduced here at two scales (240 and 60 m/pixel; 788 and 197 feet/pixel). The outlines of (B) and (C) are shown as white boxes. The tops of (B) and (C) are to the lower right (that is, the spacecraft was moving from the lower right to upper left).

GIF = 2.7 MB

(B) MOC image 7203, reproduced at a scale of 45 meters (about 150 feet) pixel, is approximately 81.5 km (50.7 mi) long by 31 km (19.25 mi) wide. It covers an area of about 2640 sq. km (975.6 sq. mi). The center of the image is at 80.46°S, 243.12°W.

GIF = 2.3 MB

(C) MOC image 7204, also reproduced at a scale of 45 meters/pixel, is approximately 83.3 km (52 mi) long by 31.7 km (19.7 mi) wide. It covers an area of about 2750 sq. km (1023.7 sq. mi). The center of the image is at 81.97°S, 246.74°W.

Note: The MOC images are made available in order to share with the public the excitement of new discoveries being made via the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The images may be reproduced only if the images are credited to "Malin Space Science Systems/NASA". Release of an image does not constitute a release of scientific data. An image and its caption should not be referenced in the scientific literature. Full data releases to the scientific community are scheduled by the Mars Global Surveyor Project and NASA Planetary Data System. Typically, data will be released after a 6 month calibration and validation period.

Click Here for more information on MGS data release and archiving plans.


These MOC images (B and C, above) were released 11 February by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, following processing at JPL's Multimission Image Processing Laboratory (MIPL). In each image pair, the left hand image has been processed to preserve most of the brightness variation (albedo), while the right hand image has been processed to enhance small-scale features at the expense of albedo. Owing to noise in the image, the pictures were processed at one-third their original resolution (which was 15 m, or about 50 feet, per pixel).

The images were acquired a few minutes after midnight (PST) on December 24, 1997, with the MGS spacecraft over 4000 km (2500 miles) from the surface of Mars. They show enigmatic layered materials that have a range of brightness and contrasts that reflect their composition and how they erode. Bright areas are believed to have more ice exposed, while dark areas are thought to be dust or sand that has accumulated in a "scum" layer as the underlying ice/dirt mixture evaporated. The "fuzziness" associated with brighter areas may be the result of water-ice fog in the atmosphere immediately above the surface. The dark areas display textures that may result from wind erosion creating streamlined ridges and troughs. Pits and mounds may also develop when variations in dust thickness enhance or retard evaporation of the underlying ice.

Although these images cover an area somewhat south of the Mars Surveyor '98 landing zone (75±2°S, 215±30°W), they are important because they show features thought to be very much like those in the landing zone.

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.


To MSSS Mars Page

To MSSS Home Page