NASA Mars Picture of the Day: To Beat the Band

Status Report From: NASAJPL/MSSS
Posted: Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1599, 28 September 2006

Medium-sized view of MGS MOC Picture of the Day, updated daily
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows layers exposed in the north polar region of Mars. The north polar cap is underlain by a thick sequence of layered material. The layers are most commonly exposed on the slopes of troughs that are believed to have formed by wind erosion. The layers give a banded appearance. In this example, some of the layers are cut off (truncated) by other layers. This truncation is a classic, textbook example of an erosional unconformity, a term commonly used by geologists. The unconformity occurs when deposition of new layered material stops for a while, and erosion occurs. Then, new layers form on top of the eroded surface and the older layers, at some point in time when the erosion stops and deposition of layered material resumes.
Location near: 78.6°N, 342.0°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: lower right
Season: Northern Spring

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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, California. 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, California and Denver, Colorado.

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