Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Global Surveyor sees odd feature on Martian surface
Posted: May 31, 2000

"Hot-Cross-Bun" on the Northern Plains. Photo: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
The Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera narrow angle image shows what, at first glance, might look like a "hot crossed bun" on the martian northern plains.

Unlike the southern highlands of Mars, the northern plains are lower and have far fewer impact craters on them. The relatively few craters that are present in the north have been severely eroded and/or buried.

The mound in the high-resolution view (left) has been cracked and was at one time mostly covered by a thin veneer of light-toned material that is now seen only partly covering it.

The picture was taken on August 16, 1999, and occur near 45.9 degrees N, 191.1 degrees W. The image is illuminated by sunlight from the lower left. The bright, wispy features in the context image are clouds, their dark shadows can be seen cast upon the surface to the right of each cloud feature.

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.