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Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Dunes in Herschel Crater

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-294, 30 October 2001


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Image with some annotation (965 KBytes)
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Herschel Crater is a 300 kilometer (186 mi) wide impact basin located in the martian southern cratered highlands at 14.5°S, 230°W. The floor of this ancient crater exhibits patches of dark material that, when viewed by the high resolution Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) aboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft, resolve into fields of sand dunes. In detail, these dunes have a grooved, lineated surface. These grooves indicate that the dune sands are cemented together and have been eroded and scoured by wind. The age of the dunes and how their sands became cemented are unknown. Sunlight illuminates this March 2001 scene from the upper left. The box in the upper left corner shows the location of the high resolution view, the 400 m scale bar is ~437 yards.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

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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