Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Ripple Trap

By SpaceRef Editor
April 3, 2006
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1421, 3 April 2006

Medium-sized view of MGS MOC Picture of the Day, updated daily

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows the margin of a lava flow on a cratered plain in the Athabasca Vallis region of Mars. Remarkably, the portion of the cratered plain in this scene is essentially free of bright, windblown ripples. Conversely, the lava flow apparently acted as a trap for windblown materials, illustrated by the presence of the light-toned, wave-like texture over much of the flow. That the lava flow surface trapped windblown sand and granules better than the cratered plain indicate that the flow surface has a rougher texture at a scale too small to resolve in this image.

Location near: 10.7°N, 204.5°W

Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)

Illumination from: lower left

Season: Northern Winter

Tips for Media Use

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.