Mars Orbiter Camera image 36204 shows a small Martian valley network east of the impact basin Schiaparelli near 1.5°S, 335°W. One of the lowest resolution views taken by MOC during its first year in orbit (original scale is 16 m per picture element), it nonetheless illustrates important attributes of the valley networks. The area is heavily blanketed with windblown dust and sand (the latter seen as dunes within the valley). The upland surface shows tributaries about 1 km across, but none smaller. Since impact craters smaller than 1 km are preserved but often mantled, the smaller tributaries, if formed by surface runoff from precipitation, should be visible. Their absence suggests that groundwater processes have played a more substantive role in the formation of the valley systems than rainfall.
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.