This view of Mars, showing a small area immediately south of the large crater Schiaparelli, was taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera during its 23rd pass close to the planet. It was acquired on October 18, 1997, at 3:42 PM PST, about 10 minutes after closest approach. The image covers an area 4.6 km (2.9 miles) wide by 21.1 km (13.1 miles) high, at a resolution of 4.5 m by 7.9 m (14.75 X 25.9 feet) per picture element, and is centered at 5.5°S, 340.7°W. The local time of the acquisition was about 4:50 PM.
The image at left shows the location in the best available image from the Viking Orbiters (approximately 240 m/pixel). The center image is the full image, while at right is an enlarged portion of it. The two right images are available at higher resolution as PIA01025 and PIA01026, respectively.
Launched on November 7, 1996, Mars Global Surveyor entered Mars orbit on Thursday, September 11, 1997. The original mission plan called for using friction with the planet's atmosphere to reduce the orbital energy, leading to a two-year mapping mission from close, circular orbit (beginning in March 1998). Owing to difficulties with one of the two solar panels, aerobraking was suspended in mid-October and resumed in November 8. Many of the original objectives of the mission, and in particular those of the camera, are likely to be accomplished as the mission progresses.
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.