Olympus Mons, 1998
Date: 25 Apr 1998
Mars Global Surveyor revolutionized our view of Mars. In this view we see Olympus Mons -- a mountain of mystery. Olympus Mons is taller than three Mount Everests and about as wide as the entire Hawaiian island chain. This giant volcano is nearly as flat as a pancake. That is, its flanks typically only slope 2 to 5 degrees.
The Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) obtained this spectacular wide-angle view of Olympus Mons on Mars Global Surveyor's 263rd orbit, around 10:40 p.m. PDT on 25 April 1998. In the view presented here, north is to the left and east is up. The spacecraft was traveling from north to south (left to right). Although the camera looks straight down (towards the nadir) and cannot be pointed to the side, the wide angle camera has such a large field of view (it sees from horizon to horizon) that, in effect, it provides side looking views. Unlike some other MOC images, that have had to be warped to provide a view as if seen from a certain direction and altitude, this image shows what the camera saw without additional processing. It is easy to imagine that you are looking out a window at the surface of Mars from about 900 km (560 miles) up.
Last Update: 2 March 2012 (AMB)
Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems