Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Isidis Planitia Features

By SpaceRef Editor
June 27, 2004
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-769, 26 June 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows some of the most typical features of Isidis
Planitia at full (1.5 meters — 5 feet — per pixel)
resolution. The typical features are: (1) light-toned, ripple-like
dunes and (2) mounds with summit pits. The dunes are
formed by wind. The double-cone feature in the lower
right quarter of the image is similar to many mounds
and chains of mounds or cones found all across Isidis
Planitia. These were seen at lower resolution in Viking
orbiter images in the 1970s and were generally considered
to be either small volcanoes or ice-cored mounds known
as pingoes. With high resolution MOC images, it
became apparent that many of these mounds may simply
be the remnants of crater and pit chain floors, elevated
above the surrounding plains as the layers of rock
into which they formed were stripped away. Like much
of Mars, there are more questions than answers.
This image is located
near 8.6°N, 268.2°W, and
covers an area about 1.1 km (0.7 mi) wide.
Sunlight illuminates the scene from the left/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.