Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Stair-stepped Mound

By SpaceRef Editor
July 22, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-429, 22 July 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This April 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows a stair-stepped mound of sedimentary rock (right of center)
on the floor of a large impact crater in western Arabia Terra near
11.0°N, 4.4°W. Sedimentary rock outcrops are common in the
craters of this region. The repeated thickness and uniformity of the
layers that make up this mound suggest that their depositional
environment was one in which cyclic or episodic events occurred
over some period of time. The sediments might have been deposited
in a lake, or they may have settled directly out of the atmosphere.
Most of the layered material was later eroded away, leaving this
circular mound and the other nearby mesas and knobs.
The image 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.