Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Partially-Exhumed Crater in Northern Terra Meridiani

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-316, 8 August 2002

Mosaic of M04-01289, E17-01676, and M21-01646
50% size annotated -- full size annotated
50% size no annotation -- full size no annotation

Stereo Anaglyph of overlapping coverage in M04-01289 and E17-01676
full size, annotated -- full size, no annotation
context, small image -- context, full size

Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images have shown time and again that the geology and history of Mars is complex. These two pictures show different views of a circular feature in northern Terra Meridiani at 2.3°N, 356.6°W. The first is a mosaic of 3 MOC narrow angle images acquired in August 1999, November 2000, and June 2002. The black area is a gap in coverage resulting from data lost after transmission from Mars to Earth. The second picture is a stereo ("3-D") anaglyph of a portion of the same circular feature. It has been rotated 90° clockwise to show the stereo effect that results from combining the August 1999 image, which was taken while the spacecraft was pointed nadir (straight down) and the June 2002 image, taken with the spacecraft pointing backwards about 16° (i.e., MGS Relay-16 orientation). The anaglyph should be viewed with "3-D" glasses (red in left eye, blue in the right).

The circular feature was once an impact crater. The crater was 2.6 km (1.6 mi) across, about 2.6 times larger than the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona. Terra Meridiani, like northern Arizona, is a region of vast exposures of layered sedimentary rock. Like the crater in Arizona, this one was formed by a meteor that impacted a layered rock substrate. Later, this crater was filled and completely buried under more than 100 m (more than 327 ft) of additional layered sediment. The sediment hardened to become rock. Later still, the rock was eroded away---by processes unknown (perhaps wind)---to re-expose the buried crater. The crater today remains mostly filled with sediment, its present rim standing only about 40 m (130 ft) above its surroundings.

Images Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

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