Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Tractus Fossae Pit Chain

By SpaceRef Editor
January 29, 2004
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-620, 29 January 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This January 2004 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows a chain of pits formed in a trough of the Tractus Fossae region
near 24.1°N, 103.4°W.
The troughs are graben, which are formed by faults cutting
rock as the crust is stretched and extended, in this case toward
the east and toward the west (right and left).
As the rocks broke and moved along
the fault lines that create the sharp cliffs on either side of the
troughs, some materials between the trough walls collapsed along
the fault trend to form the chain of pits.
The picture covers an area approximately 3 km
(1.9 mi) wide; sunlight illuminates the scene 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.