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MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

IMAGE CAPTION PIA-06879
Rover Tracks Seen from Orbit
September 27, 2004

Wheel tracks left by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, and even the rover itself, are visible in this image from the Mars Orbiter Camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. North is up in this image. The tracks and rover are in the area south of a crater informally named "Bonneville," which is just southeast of the center of the image. The orbiter captured this image with use of an enhanced-resolution technique called compensated pitch and roll targeted observation. It took the picture on March 30, 2004, 85 martian days, or sols, after Spirit landed on Mars. The rover had driven from its landing site to the rim of Bonneville and was examining materials around the crater's rim.

In this portion of the plains inside the much larger Gusev Crater, Spirit created wheel tracks darker than the undisturbed surface, as seen in the rover's own images showing the tracks (for example, http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA05450). The contrast allows the tracks to show up in the image obtained from orbit. Also visible are Spirit's lander, backshell and parachute, and the scar where its heat shield hit the ground.

The full image covers an area 3 kilometers (2 miles) wide, at 14.8 degrees south latitude and 184.6 degrees west longitude. Pixel size is about 1.5 meters (5 feet) by one-half meter (1.6 feet). Sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left.

Mars Global Surveyor is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS

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R1203203_ix.jpg

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

IMAGE CAPTION PIA-06878
Megaripples in Athabasca Vallis
September 27, 2004

 

Researchers' goal in taking this image was to look for boulders in the large ripples formed by an ancient catastrophic flood in Mars' Athabasca Vallis. The Mars Orbiter Camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft captured this image on Dec. 25, 2003, with use of an enhanced-resolution technique called compensated pitch and roll targeted observation.

The flood-deposited megaripples had been seen in earlier, lower-resolution images from the same camera. They are the only good examples known of ripples formed in a giant catastrophic flood anywhere on Mars. Their presence indicates that large amounts of water poured rapidly through this area, based on resemblance to similar megaripples in catastrophic flood sites on Earth. The ripples in Athabasca Vallis were buried for some period and later exhumed. Strange, round features on top of some of the ripples and the adjacent plains are products of erosion and removal of the overlying layer. Finding boulders in the ripples would help constrain estimates of the power of the floods. However, the image does not show boulders in the ripples, implying either that the rocks that make up these features are smaller than about 1 to 2 meters (3 to 7 feet) in diameter or that the ripple sediments have not been completely exhumed.

The image covers an area 3 kilometers (2 miles) wide, near 9.5 degrees north latitude and 203.7 degrees west longitude. Pixel size is about 1.5 meters (5 feet) by one-half meter (1.6 feet). North is up and sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

Mars Global Surveyor is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS

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-- "QuickTime" .mov (5 MB) --

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

IMAGE CAPTION PIA-06880
Rotating for Even Sharper Images
September 27, 2004

 

This animation portrays the movements that NASA's Mars Global Surveyor undergoes to acquire an enhanced-resolution image using a technique called compensated pitch and roll targeted observation. The camera team and spacecraft team developed the technique for increasing the resolution in images taken by the spacecraft's Mars Orbiter Camera. Controllers adjust the rotation rate of the spacecraft to match the ground speed under the camera while the orbiter passes over the target.

Even without using this technique, the Mars Orbiter Camera acquires the highest-resolution images ever taken from a Mars orbiting spacecraft, revealing the martian surface with a typical pixel size of 1.5 meters by 1.5 meters (5 feet by 5 feet.) From the same camera, compensated pitch and roll targeted observations typically have a resolution of 1.5 meters (5 feet) per pixel in the cross-track (east-west) direction and just one-half meter (1.6 feet) in the down-track (north-south) direction.

Mars Global Surveyor is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS

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