PIA00397: Boulder 'Big Joe' And Surface Changes On Mars
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Viking
Spacecraft: Viking Lander 1
Instrument: Camera 1
Product Size: 728 x 512 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: JPL
Producer ID: P19591
Addition Date: 1996-12-12
Primary Data Set: Viking EDRs
Full-Res TIFF: PIA00397.tif (197 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA00397.jpg (64.2 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

This pair of pictures from Viking Lander 1 at Mars' Chryse Planitia shows the only unequivocal change in the Martian surface seen by either lander. Both images show the one-meter (3-foot) high boulder nicknamed 'Big Joe.' Just to the lower right of the rock (right photo) is a small-scale slump feature. The picture at left shows a smooth, dust-covered slope; in the picture at right the top surface layer can be seen to have slipped downslope. The event occurred sometime between Oct. 4, 1976, and Jan 24, 1977. (Pictures taken before Oct. 4 do not show the slump; the first picture in which it appears was taken Jan. 24.) The surface layer, between one-half and one centimeter (one-fifth to one-third inch) thick, is apparently less cohesive than the underlying material. The layer that slipped formed a 30-centimeter-long (11.8-inch) 'tongue' of soil and a patch of exposed underlying material. The triggering mechanism for the event is unknown, but could have been temperature variations, wind gusts, a seismic event, or perhaps the lander's touchdown on July 20, 1976.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL

Image Addition Date:
1996-12-12