Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

The Textured Surface of Alba Patera Volcano

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-159, 19 July 1999


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The Alba Patera volcano is the northernmost of the Tharsis volcanoes on Mars. It is a very low, flat volcano that has slopes that are typically less than one degree. The lava flows and channels on the flanks of the Alba Patera volcano are mostly obscured by a covering of eroded, lumpy-textured material of unknown origin. A surface covered by this material is shown here. The large crater (upper left) probably formed by meteorite impact, but it has been subsequently modified and now appears to be partly exhumed from beneath a covering of the rough, lumpy material. The surface material could be a deposit of thick, eroded volcanic ash. Alternatively, it could be thick, eroded, windblown dust. Or something else. No one knows. This Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera image was taken in July 1998 and is illuminated 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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