Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Modified Crater, Northern Arabia

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-152, 19 July 1999


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There are processes that have shaped the martian landscape that remain unknown or--at least--poorly understood. Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images provide many humbling examples of terrain that will probably require years of study before their history is known. The crater shown here--and all of the rough, bumpy terrain that surrounds it--provide some good examples. Some craters in the middle latitudes of Mars (i.e., 30° to 50° N and S) exhibit strange, concentric- and radial-textured patterns on their floors. The patterns seen in this crater give the impression that material has slid or slumped--perhaps slowly--down into the crater. The terrain all around the crater is degraded, pitted, and rough. These are also common features of the middle martian latitudes. Perhaps sublimation of ice from the soil and bedrock contributes to the creation of these landforms--but this is only a speculation because such ice is not known to be present in these regions of Mars. The crater shown here is in northern Arabia Terra. The picture was taken in April 1998, and is illuminated by sunlight from the lower right.


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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