Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) High Resolution Images:
Color Image of Layers within the Valles Marineris


Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera Release:          MOC2-29
Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera Image ID:         568174924.8003

MOC image 8003 (subframe) "colorized" using Viking Orbiter images
(JPEG = 1.9 MBytes)

Warning: This image does not represent the "true" color of Mars

Note: You may need to adjust this image or your monitor to account for gamma differences.

Also available: the entire orbit 8003 image with Viking color overlay. Go to the JPL Photojournal and select the desired version and quality. Note: this image is VERY large. Downloading and displaying will take a very long time.

Note: This MOC image is made available in order to share with the public the excitement of new discoveries being made via the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The image may be reproduced only if the image is credited to "Malin Space Science Systems/NASA". Release of this image does not constitute a release of scientific data. The image and its caption should not be referenced in the scientific literature. Full data releases to the scientific community are scheduled by the Mars Global Surveyor Project and NASA Planetary Data System. Typically, data will be released after a 6 month calibration and validation period.

Click Here for more information on MGS data release and archiving plans.


Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image of a 10 km by 12 km area within Coprates Chasma (14.7°S, 55.8°W)--a ridge with a flat upper surface in the center of the 6000-km-long Valles Marineris. North is toward the top, sun illumination is coming from the left. Slopes descend to the north and south (upper and lower part of image, respectively) in broad, debris-filled gullies with intervening rocky spurs. Multiple rock layers, varying from a few to a few tens of meters thick, are visible in the steep slopes on the spurs and gullies. Layered rocks on Earth form from sedimentary processes (such as those that formed the layered rocks now seen in Arizona's Grand Canyon) and volcanic processes (such as layering seen in the Waimea Canyon on the island of Kauai). Both origins are possible for the Martian layered rocks seen in this image. In either case, the total thickness of the layered rocks seen in this image implies a complex and extremely active early history for geologic processes on Mars.

Low-resolution Viking color images were used to "colorize" the 4.8 meters/pixel (15.7 feet/pixel) grayscale MOC image. The process takes the red, green, and blue (RGB) low-resolution images and transforms them to hue (color), saturation (whether the colors are bold or pastel), and intensity (the brightness of the scene), or HSI. The high resolution grayscale image is then used to replace the low-resolution intensity image, and the images are transformed back to RGB. The colors were additionally modified to appear less saturated and more "earth-like."

This "colorized" subframe of MOC 8003 was featured as the cover of the journal, Science, on March 13, 1998, in which the landform was erroneously identified as "Coprates Catena". The image goes with the article by Malin et al., "Early Views of the Martian Surface from the Mars Orbiter Camera of Mars Global Surveyor," Science, v. 279, no. 5357, pp. 1681-1685.

For a look at more of MOC image #8003 and the relevant Viking Orbiter context pictures, see the Malin Space Science Systems MOC image release #MOC2-23 from February 2, 1998.

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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