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New Mars Global Surveyor Images
New Mars Global Surveyor Images
3 Nov 2000
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

The following new 3D image was taken by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft:

  • A 3-D Look at Wind-Sculpted Ridges in Aeolis
The image resides on the Mars Global Surveyor website:

The image captions are appended below.

Mars Global Surveyor was launched in November 1996 and has been in Mars orbit since September 1997. It began its primary mapping mission on March 8, 1999. Mars Global Surveyor is the first mission in a long-term program of Mars exploration known as the Mars Surveyor Program that is managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) 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.

Ron Baalke

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

A 3-D Look at Wind-Sculpted Ridges in Aeolis

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-256, 3 November 2000

Layers of bedrock etched by wind to form sharp, elongated ridges known to geomorphologists as yardangs are commonplace in the southern Elysium Planitia/southern Amazonis region of Mars. The ridges shown in this "3-D" composite of two overlapping Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images occur in the eastern Aeolis region of southern Elysium Planitia near 2.3?S, 206.8?W. To view the picture in stereo, you need red-blue "3-D" glasses (red filter over the left eye, blue over the right).

For wind to erode bedrock into the patterns seen here, the rock usually must consist of something that is fine-grained and of nearly uniform grain size, such as sand. It must also be relatively easy to erode. For decades, most Mars researchers have interpreted these materials to be eroded deposits of volcanic ash. Nothing in the new picture shown here can support nor refute this earlier speculation. The entire area is mantled by light-toned dust. Small landslides within this thin dust layer form dark streaks on some of the steeper slopes in this picture (for more examples and explanations for these streaks, see previous web pages listed below).

The stereo (3-D) picture was compiled using an off-nadir view taken by the MOC during the Aerobrake-1 subphase of the mission in January 1998 with a nadir (straight-down-looking) view acquired in October 2000. The total area shown is about 6.7 kilometers (4.2 miles) wide by 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) high and is illuminated by sunlight from the upper right. The relief in the stereo image is quite exaggerated: the ridges are between about 50 and 100 meters (about 165-330 feet) high. North is toward the lower right.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

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Last Updated: 5 Jun 2001