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NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Scrambled Hellas

Status Report From: NASAJPL/MSSS
Posted: Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1601, 30 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 an example of the extremely odd, seemingly scrambled layered rocks exposed by erosion near the deepest part of the deepest basin on Mars, Hellas. This pattern of eroded, and perhaps deformed layers was once exposed to the martian surface, then buried, and more recently exposed again. The story behind these layers is not really understood; some members of the MOC team have—for nearly 9 years now—taken to calling these features, "taffy-pull terrain".
Location near: 43.1°S, 307.3°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: upper left
Season: Southern 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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