Status Report

Mars Picture of the Day: Buried Craters of Utopia

By SpaceRef Editor
May 19, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-365, 19 May 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Beneath the northern plains of Mars are numerous
buried meteor impact craters. One of the most heavily-cratered
areas, although buried, occurs in Utopia Planitia, as shown
in this Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image. The history of Mars is complex; impact craters provide
a tool by which to understand some of that history. In this
case, a very ancient, cratered surface was thinly-buried
by younger material that is not cratered at all.
This area is near 48.1°N, 228.2°W; less than
180 km (112 mi) west of the Viking 2 lander site.
Sunlight illuminates the scene from the
lower left.

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.

SpaceRef staff editor.