Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Crater On A Pedestal, Amazonis Planitia

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-162, 19 July 1999


820 KByte gif -- 185 KByte gif


Impact crater ejecta--the deposit of debris that surrounds the hole created by the outwards blast when a meteorite strikes a surface at many miles per second--is typically quite rocky. Rocky surfaces tend to suffer less wind erosion than flat, exposed, sand and dust-covered surfaces. In regions of Mars where wind erosion has been quite vigorous, craters such as the one shown here can be found. This Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera image (above) shows a pedestal crater. The upper layer of the plains surrounding this crater has been stripped and deflated by wind. The rocky ejecta of the crater, however, protected the material beneath the ejecta blanket from such erosion. This process also gives the ejecta deposit a "raised relief" appearance. The image was taken in July 1998 and is illuminated from the 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.

To MSSS Home Page