Status Report

NASA Mars Image of the Day: Northern Plains Patterns

By SpaceRef Editor
October 14, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-513, 14 October 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Patterns are common on the northern plains of Mars. Like their
terrestrial counterparts in places like Siberia, Alaska, and
northern Canada, patterned ground on Mars might be an
indicator of the presence of ground ice. Whether it is true that
the patterns on Mars are related to ground ice and whether the
ice is still present beneath the martian surface are unknown.
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) picture
shows an example of patterned ground on the martian northern plains
near 72.4°N, 252.6°W. The dark dots and lines are low
mounds and chains of mounds. The circular feature near the
center of the image is the location of a buried meteor impact
crater; its presence today is marked only by the dark boulders
on its rim and ejecta blanket that have managed to remain uncovered
at the martian surface. The area shown is 3 km
(1.9 mi) wide and illuminated by sunlight 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.