Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Pedestal Crater and Yardangs

By SpaceRef Editor
August 6, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-444, 6 August 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This April 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows a small meteor impact crater that has been modified
by wind erosion. Two things happened after the crater formed.
First, the upper few meters of surface material into which the
meteor impacted was later eroded away by wind. The crater ejecta formed
a protective armor that kept the material under the ejecta from
been blown away. This caused the crater and ejecta to appear as
if standing upon a raised platform–a feature that Mars geologists
call a pedestal crater. Next, the pedestal crater was buried
beneath several meters of new sediment, and then this material
was eroded away by wind to form the array of sharp ridges that
run across the pedestal crater’s surface. These small ridges are
known as yardangs. This picture is illuminated by
sunlight from the upper left; it is located in west
Daedalia Planum near 14.6°S, 131.9°W.

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.