Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Isidis Planitia 10-31-2003

By SpaceRef Editor
October 31, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-530, 31 October 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Isidis Planitia is a vast, nearly circular plain centered
at 12°N, 273°W. Its circular shape has led Mars
researchers to suspect that it is the site of a very ancient,
very eroded basin formed by asteroid or comet impact when
the planet was still very young.
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows a 3 km (1.9 mi) wide view of a typical Isidis
Planitia scene. All over Isidis Planitia are found craters,
ripple-like, light-toned, windblown dunes, and rugged mounds
with summit pits. The mounds with summit pits might mark
the location of impact craters that formed in a layer of
material that used to cover much of Isidis Planitia, but has
been largely stripped away, leaving the floors of former impact
craters standing high upon remnants of this formerly more
extensive layer. This example is located
near 18.2°N, 272.5°W, and is 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.