This image shows a remarkable landscape of ridges and troughs that very closely resemble folded and warped sediments on Earth. This is the first time such warped beds have been seen on Mars, and neither their origin nor their occurrence within Ganges Chasma is understood. It is possible these are beds folded by a large landslide, but that would be very unusual. Alternatively, these may be folded sedimentary beds, similar to horizontal beds seen elsewhere in Ganges Chasma. However, what forces then folded these particular beds while leaving the others undeformed is unknown. Future imaging within this and the other Valles Marineris will be used to address such issues.
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.