Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera
MOC "Looking Into" Martian Craters
MGS MOC Release Nos. MOC2-123, MOC2-124, MOC2-125, 11 May
During the first week of May 1999, the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) spent
some time peering into martian impact craters. Three examples are shown
The first crater (on left, MOC2-123) is located on a plain west of the
Tartarus Montes (east of Elysium Mons volcano). The crater is about 2.7
kilometers (1.7 miles) across. Illumination is from the left.
The second crater (middle, MOC2-124) is located in south-central Syria
Planum and is about 7.0 kilometers (4.4 miles) across. Illumination is from
the upper left.
The third crater (right, MOC2-125) is found on Hesperia Planum and is
7.3 kilometers (4.5 miles) across. Illumination is from the upper left.
If you have ever visited the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona,
U.S.A., then you are aware of its immense size on a human scale. The Arizona
crater, however, is only 1 kilometer across (0.62 miles), whereas the first
crater above (left) is nearly three times that size, and the other two are
seven times wider.
Each crater was formed by the impact and explosion of a meteorite at
some time in the martian past. After each crater formed, it was modified
by wind and erosion. The craters show deposits of sand and dust on their
floors and in low areas around their rims, they also typically have boulders
and other debris that has slid down the inside walls of the crater; and some
crater walls show exposures of bedrock.
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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