Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Warrego Valles

By SpaceRef Editor
October 3, 2004
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-868, 3 October 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

When viewed at 100 to 300 meters per pixel in old
Mariner 9 and Viking orbiter images, Warrego
Valles appears to be a grouping of intricately-carved
networks of branching valleys. This region has often
been used as the type example of martian valley
networks, and key evidence that Mars may have once
been warmer, wetter, and perhaps had precipitation
in the form of rain or snow. However, when viewed
at very high resolution (1.5 to 4.5 meters
per pixel) with the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS)
Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC), the Warrego valleys
break down into a series of vaguely continuous (in
other words, not necessarily connected to each other)
troughs that have been covered and partially filled
by a material that has eroded to form a very rough-textured
surface. None of the original valley floor or wall features
are visible because of this rough-textured mantle, and
thus very little can be said regarding whether the
valleys represent the results of persistent flow
and precipitation runoff. Despite the MOC observations
and the relatively unique nature of these valleys
relative to other valley networks on Mars,
the Warrego Valles continue to be used by many as
an example of typical martian valley networks.
The picture shown here is a mosaic of
three MOC narrow angle images obtained in 1999
and 2004: M07-02071, R15-00492,
and R15-02626. The dark bar near the bottom center is the
location of a data drop, lost during transmission. The
1 km scale bar is approximately equal to 0.62 miles.
Sunlight illuminates the images from the upper left,
north is up, and the scene is located
near 42.4°S, 93.5°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.