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Syrtis Major and Arabia Terra

High Res TIFF (887 kB)

Syrtis Major and Arabia Terra

The Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) has, in fact, three cameras. The narrow angle system obtains monochrome (black-and-white) super-high resolution views of the red planet, while the wide angle system obtains regional and global views in both the red and blue portions of the visible spectrum (to make a color image, the red and blue are averaged to obtain the green channel). The picture shown here is a composite of 9 color strips taken by the MOC on 9 successive orbits from pole-to-pole over the planet during the calibration phase of the mission in March 1999. The large, circular bright region that dominates the scene is Arabia Terra. Syrtis Major is the dark region toward the lower right. The north polar cap is visible at the top, and the bright feature at the lower right is the Hellas Basin. The color in this picture is computer-enhanced and is not shown as it would actually appear to the human eye.

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.

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

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