Mars Global Surveyor: Relay-16 Stereo View of Layer Outcrops in Iani Chaos

Press Release From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Monday, February 11, 2002

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In an effort to save fuel so that the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission can be extended additional years into the future (in order to act as a relay for entry, descent, and landing telemetry from the Mars Exploration Rover mission in early 2004), the spacecraft was re-oriented in mid-August 2001 such that it no longer points the camera and other science instruments straight down at Mars (i.e., towards its nadir). Now it points about 16° off-nadir. For the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) experiment, this new orientation, known among MGS teams as "Relay-16" (because it enables the "relay mission" and has an offset of 16°), has resulted in a tremendous increase in the number of opportunities to acquire high resolution stereo (3-D) views of the martian surface. Ideally, an image taken during the Mapping Mission when the spacecraft was pointing nadir is repeated within a week or two of its first Mars anniversary--i.e., 1 Mars year after it was first acquired--so that the illumination conditions are close to the same in the two images.

The 3-D anaglyph shown here is an example of the on-going effort to acquire Relay-16 stereo during the MGS Extended Mission. The first picture used to make this image, M13-01484, was acquired March 21, 2000. Nearly 1 Mars year later, the second image, E12-02584, was taken on January 23, 2002. Together, the images show eroded, pitted, light-toned layer outcrops in Iani Chaos near 4.4°S, 18.6°W. The layered materials may be ancient sedimentary rocks. The image covers an area 26 km (16 miles) by nearly 3 km (1.9 mi) wide, and is illuminated from the top left.

To see this image in stereo vision, you must use "3-D" glasses (red in left eye, blue in right). To see the original image from March 2000, visit M13-01484 in the MOC Gallery.

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