Status Report

Mars Global Surveyor: Mars Sampler – Images from Extended Mission Phases E01 through E06

By SpaceRef Editor
May 7, 2002
Filed under , ,

MGS MOC Releases MOC2-311 to MOC2-314, 7 May 2002

This month, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
Operations Team
archived the first data from the MGS Extended Mission, which began
February 1, 2001. This brings the total number of images released
and archived to
more than 93,000. The images presented here are a sampling of
the types of results acquired by the MOC during the first six months
of the Extended Mission, subphases E01 (February 2001) through E06
(July 2001). The first few months were periods of intense scrutiny of
the martian north polar cap, a region poorly covered by MOC during the
original Mapping Mission because of frequent dust storms, haze, and
wintertime darkness. The latter two months of this period were marked
by increasing dust storm activity around the planet, resulting by
mid-July 2001 in the biggest global dust storm period of the MGS
mission. Instead of a single, global storm–a mythology that has
survived since the Mariner 9 mission of 1971-1972–there were
simultaneous, multiple, large regional storms. The dust raised into
the martian stratosphere by these storms obscured all but the south
polar cap for three months.

These four pictures are a very tiny fraction of the full range of
images and topics explored by MOC during E01-E06. Imaging strategies
included acquisition of stereo (3-d) by pointing the camera off-nadir
at locations previously imaged by MOC. The investigation also focused
on testing hypotheses formulated in the previous three years of
pre-Mapping and Mapping observations. All of the E01-E06 data
are newly-released this month in the
MOC Gallery. New
data are released every 6 months, following a labor-intensive,
image-by-image data validation effort.


N. Polar Geology


Meridiani Layers


Nirgal Vallis


Dust Storms

Additional samplings of Extended Mission image results were
presented in:

SpaceRef staff editor.