context, E10-00679

Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) was launched from Earth just over five
years ago on November 7, 1996. It began to orbit Mars on
September 12, 1997. After slightly more than four years in
orbit, we have now received our 100,000th image
from the MGS Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC). For comparison, the
Viking 1 and Viking 2 orbiters together returned ~55,000 images
during the time they were operational from 1976 to 1980. The Vikings
returned about 70 Gbytes of data; MOC has returned 163 Gbytes (
after decompression).

MOC’s 100,000th image, E10-00678 (left), was received on November 5,
2001. It’s context frame (right) was received at the same time. The
100,000th image is located near 24.2°N, 127.4°W, in Cyane
Sulci, a grouping of ridges northeast of the giant volcano, Olympus
Mons. The picture (above left) shows a valley running diagonally from
near the upper right to the lower left, the floor of which is covered
by windblown dunes. The slopes on either side of the valley show
dark streaks of debris that have slid down from the surrounding
ridges. The image has fairly low contrast and a streaked appearance
because the atmosphere of Mars was still somewhat hazy following a
series of large dust storms that
nearly obscured the planet between July and October 2001. Both images
are illuminated from the lower left, the high resolution view (left)
covers an area 1.5 km (0.9 mi) across, the context view (with white
box to indicate location of high resolution view) covers an area 63 km
(39 mi) across.

To date, more than two-thirds of all MOC images, covering the first
year and a half of pre-mapping operations and the first full
Mars year of mapping, have been carefully examined, validated,
cataloged, and archived with the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS). To
view these first 78,000+ MOC images, visit the MOC Gallery. Work is on-
going to similarly process data being collected during the “extended
mission” presently underway, which will be archived in future deliveries
to the PDS.

Images Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems