Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera
The Terrain of Margaritifer Chaos
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-185, 18 October 1999
The jumbled and broken terrain in the picture on the left is known
as chaotic terrain. Chaotic terrain was first observed in Mariner
6 and 7 images of Mars more than 30 years ago, and is thought to result
from collapse after material--perhaps water or ice--was removed from
the subsurface by events such as the formation of giant flood channels.
The region shown here is named "Margaritifer Chaos". The left picture
is a Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) red wide angle
camera context frame that covers an area 115 km
(71 miles) across. The small white box is centered at
10.3°S, 21.4°W and indicates the location of the
high-resolution view on the right.
The high resolution view (right) covers a small portion of the Margaritifer
Chaos at 1.8 meters (6 feet) per pixel. The area shown is 3 km (1.9 miles)
across. Uplands are lumpy with small bright outcrops of bedrock. Lowlands
or valleys in the chaotic terrain have floors covered by light-toned windblown d
This image is typical of the very highest-resolution views of the
equatorial latitudes of Mars. Both pictures are illuminated from the
left/upper left, north is toward the top.
For a full-resolution view of the 1.8 m/pixel image (1.1 Mbytes),
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems.
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, CA. 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, CA and Denver, CO.
To MSSS Home Page