Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera
Eroded Layered Material in Southwest Utopia Planitia
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-94, 16 March 1999
Images from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
dramatically illustrate that many places on the red planet have
outcrops of layered geologic materials. The two pictures above show
the remains of layered material inside craters in southwestern Utopia
Planitia (see inset for detailed view). These remnant layers indicate
that the craters--and perhaps the plains that surround them--were once
buried beneath a deposit that has since been eroded
away. This theme of layered outcrops and exhumed craters appears
to be one of the dominant observations that MGS MOC has made--to date--about
Mars. The origin and composition of the layered material--and its ultimate
fate once it was largely eroded away--are unknown.
Each of the two pictures shown here covers an area about 4 kilometers
(2.5 miles) by 6.3 kilometers (3.9 miles). Illumination is from
the lower right.
These are subframes of a single MOC image acquired in
July 1998 during the MGS Science Phasing
Orbits imaging campaign. This figure was presented at the
30th Lunar and Planetary
Science Conference in Houston, Texas, March 1999.
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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