- Press Release
- August 17, 2022
NASA Mars Image of the Day: Meridiani Craters
Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-952, 26 December 2004
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
A little over 11 months ago, the Mars Exploration Rover,
Opportunity, landed on Meridiani Planum.
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows a small portion of Meridiani Planum–too far
from the rover for it to investigate–that has been peppered
with small impact craters. The majority of craters, particularly
those in the lower half of the image, are secondary impacts
caused by the landing of rock and debris ejected from a
much larger impact crater, located elsewhere in the region.
The large, nearly circular depression at the top center of
the image is the site of a much older crater that was
filled and almost completely buried beneath the plains.
As result of the rover’s work in Meridiani Planum, it is
now known that the bright rims and walls of the craters
are, at least in part, exposures of sedimentary
rock. The dark material covering the plains, according to
rover results, is mostly very fine sand plus millimeter-sized
granules. This picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi)
across, and is located
near 2.5°S, 3.3°W.
Sunlight illuminates the scene from the 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.