Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Marte Vallis Platy Flows

By SpaceRef Editor
August 4, 2003
Filed under , , ,

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-442, 4 August 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

The Marte Vallis system, located east of Cerberus and west of
Amazonis Planitia, is known for its array of broken, platy flow
features. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image
shows a close-up view of some of these plates; they appear to be like
puzzle pieces that have been broken apart and moved away from each other.
The Mars science community has been discussing these features for the
past several years—either the flows in Marte Vallis are lava flows,
or mud flows. In either case, the material was very fluid and had a thin
crust on its surface. As the material continued to flow through
the valley system, the crust broke up into smaller plates that
were then rafted some distance down the valley.
This picture is located near 6.9°N, 182.8°W. It is
illuminated by sunlight 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.

SpaceRef staff editor.