Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Lycus Sulci Slope Streaks 05-21-2004

By SpaceRef Editor
May 21, 2004
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-733, 21 May 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows dark slope streaks coming off of rugged
hills in the Lycus Sulci region, north of the Olympus
Mons volcano. These slopes are mantled with fine, bright
dust. From time to time, the dust will avalanche down
a slope, forming a slope streak. The behavior of this
dry, granular material can be somewhat fluid-like. New slope
streaks can form at any time and, for an area the size of
that shown here, may form at a rate of one per Mars year
(687 Earth days). Naturally,
some scientists have suggested that water plays a role
in forming these streaks, but, in general, Mars is
drier than the driest deserts on Earth and these
streaks are contemporary features that occur in the dustiest
regions of the planet. The image is located
near 29.8°N, 133.4°W, and covers
an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across. The picture
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.