On October 26, 1997, MOC took this image of Mars 10 minutes after its closest approach to the planet (1:46 AM PST). The view shows the floor of western Ganges Chasma (7.8°S 51.8°W), covering an area 2.6 km (1.6 miles) wide by 45.4 km (28.2 miles) long at a resolution of 5 by 7.4 meters (16.4 by 24.3 feet) per picture element. The local time on Mars when the picture was taken was 4:35 PM.
The center image (available at higher resolution as PIA01028) shows the northern portion of the area inscribed in the left image. The right image (PIA01029) shows the southern portion.
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.