Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: “White Rock” of Pollack Crater

By SpaceRef Editor
January 1, 2004
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-592, 1 January 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

The famous “White Rock” of Pollack Crater has been
known for three decades; it was originally found in
images acquired by the Mariner 9 spacecraft in 1972.
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
close-up view, obtained in October 2003,
shows some of the light-toned, wind-eroded
sedimentary rock that makes up “White Rock.” It is not actually
white, except when viewed in a processed, grayscale
image (in color, it is more of a light butterscotch to pinkish
material). The sediment that comprises “White Rock” was deposited in
Pollack Crater a long time ago, perhaps billions of years
ago; the material was later eroded by wind.
Dark, windblown ripples are present throughout
the scene. This picture is
located near 8.2°S, 335.1°W, and covers an area
about 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.