Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Ridged Layer Outcrop

By SpaceRef Editor
August 15, 2004
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-819, 15 August 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows a strange ridged pattern developed in an eroding
layer of material on the floor of a Labyrinthus Noctis
depression in the Valles Marineris system. The ridges bear
some resemblance to ripple-like dunes seen elsewhere on Mars,
but they are linked to the erosion of a specific layer of
material–i.e., something in the rock record of Mars. Similar
ridged textures are found in eroded dark-toned mantling layers
in regions as far away as northern Sinus Meridiani and Mawrth
Vallis. The explanation for these landforms is as elusive
as this image is evocative.
The image is located
near 8.2°S, 93.6°W, and
covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) across. The scene
is illuminated by sunlight from the upper 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.