Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera
Western Melas and Candor Chasms, Valles Marineris
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-105, 25 March 1999
During its March 1999 operations, the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on board
the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) captured this stunning wide-angle camera
view of the western portions of Melas and Candor Chasms in the Valles
Marineris canyon system. This view covers an area that is about 80
kilometers (50 miles) wide and 220 kilometers (137 miles) long. Melas
Chasma is located at the bottom of the image, Candor at the top. Hints
of layers in the canyon walls are evident in this image. Color
and albedo (brightness) variations on the floors of each chasm indicate
the relative distribution of dark sand and brighter sediments and/or rocks.
Dark sand on the floor of Melas Chasma was also seen by MOC in March 1999
and bright layered material was observed in Candor Chasma in April 1998
The colors shown here are not true colors as they
would appear to the human eye. The MOC has cameras that obtain images in
red and blue portions of the visible spectrum; the green portion is
synthesized using the combined average values of the red and blue
channels (a relationship understood from Viking Orbiter imaging in the 1970s).
Illumination is from the upper left.
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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