PIA02989: South Polar Cap of Mars as seen by Mariners 9 & 7
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Mariner Mars 1971 (Mariner 9)
Spacecraft: Mariner 9
Product Size: 4288 x 6265 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: JPL
Producer ID: P12675
Addition Date: 2000-11-22
Primary Data Set: MARINER71_PAGE
Full-Res TIFF: PIA02989.tif (23.13 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA02989.jpg (3.019 MB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

This mosaic of Mariner 9 frames (top), taken during the first orbit, shows the remnants of the south polar cap of Mars dimly through the great dust storm. Mariner 7 photographed the same area in August, 1969 (bottom) at which time the entire region was covered with dry ice. The strange quasilinear features of 1969 have been replaced by a number of bright curved appendages never before seen on Mars and, at this time, unexplained.

Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. The spacecraft was designed to continue the atmospheric studies begun by Mariners 6 and 7, and to map over 70% of the Martian surface from the lowest altitude (1500 kilometers [900 miles]) and at the highest resolutions (1 kilometer per pixel to 100 meters per pixel) of any previous Mars mission.

Mariner 9 was launched on May 30, 1971 and arrived on November 14, 1971.

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