Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera Release: MOC2-25A, -25B, -25C Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera Image ID: 567418687.7203 (P072-03) 567418697.7204 (P072-04)
CAPTIONThese MOC images (B and C, above) were released 11 February by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, following processing at JPL's Multimission Image Processing Laboratory (MIPL). In each image pair, the left hand image has been processed to preserve most of the brightness variation (albedo), while the right hand image has been processed to enhance small-scale features at the expense of albedo. Owing to noise in the image, the pictures were processed at one-third their original resolution (which was 15 m, or about 50 feet, per pixel).
The images were acquired a few minutes after midnight (PST) on December 24, 1997, with the MGS spacecraft over 4000 km (2500 miles) from the surface of Mars. They show enigmatic layered materials that have a range of brightness and contrasts that reflect their composition and how they erode. Bright areas are believed to have more ice exposed, while dark areas are thought to be dust or sand that has accumulated in a "scum" layer as the underlying ice/dirt mixture evaporated. The "fuzziness" associated with brighter areas may be the result of water-ice fog in the atmosphere immediately above the surface. The dark areas display textures that may result from wind erosion creating streamlined ridges and troughs. Pits and mounds may also develop when variations in dust thickness enhance or retard evaporation of the underlying ice.
Although these images cover an area somewhat south of the Mars Surveyor '98 landing zone (75±2°S, 215±30°W), they are important because they show features thought to be very much like those in the landing zone.
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.
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