Status Report

NASA Mars Image of the Day: Buried Mid-Latitude Craters

By SpaceRef Editor
December 17, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-577, 17 December 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This September 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
picture shows six circular features, three of which exhibit
concentric, or “bullseye,” patterns within them. Each
circular feature is the remains of a partly-buried, partly-eroded,
and partly-filled meteor impact crater. These occur in northeastern Arabia
Terra. Areas such as this, located near the middle latitudes of
Mars, commonly have a “scabby” or roughened appearance. The cause
of this “terrain roughening” texture is unknown, although some scientists
have speculated that it might result from the erosion and
removal (by way of sublimation) of ground ice. This idea remains highly
speculative. These features are
located near 28.4°N, 317.5°W. The image
covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide;
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.