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Viking 1 on Mars
Viking 1 on Mars (click to enlarge)

Viking 1 on Mars
Date: 23 Jul 1976

Sand dunes and large rocks are revealed in this panoramic image of Mars taken by Viking 1's Camera 1.

The horizon is approximately 3 km (2 miles) away. The late afternoon sun is high in the sky over the left side of the picture. The support struts of the S-band high-gain antenna extends to the top of the picture. The American flags are located on the two RTG (Radioisotope Thermoeletric Generator) wind screens.

In the middle third of the picture the rocky surface is covered by thick deposits of wind-blown material, forming numerous dunes. At the center of the picture on the horizon are two low hills which may be part of the rim of the distant crater. Two very large rocks are visible in the middle ground; the nearer one is 3 m (10 feet) in diameter and is 8 m (25 feet) from the spacecraft. A cloud layer is visible halfway between the horizon and the top of the picture. The meterology boom is located right of center. Behind it, the "White Mesa" is visible.

In the nearer ground are numerous rocks about 10cm (4 inches) across, with horse-shoe shaped scour marks on their upwind side and wind tails in their lee. The fine grained material in the front of them contains small pits formed by the impact of material kicked out by the lander's descent rocket engines.

Larger Version (TIFF, 1.22 MB)

Credit: NASA

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Last Updated: 24 Jun 2013