3 June 2005
On 17 May 2005, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) acquired its 200,000th image since the spacecraft began orbiting Mars on 12 September 1997. This image shows details on the floor and in the ejecta blanket of a northern middle-latitude martian crater, was received on Earth the following day. Its red wide angle context frame was also acquired at the same time (see PIA07996).
This image marks a milestone for the Mars Global Surveyor mission, which has returned nearly four times the number of images of both the Viking 1 and Viking 2 orbiters, combined, in the late 1970s. An additional point of comparison, the two Viking camera systems returned about 70 Gbytes of data; MOC thus far has returned 365 Gbytes (after decompression).
The MOC is really a system consisting of three cameras: (1) a narrow angle camera, essentially a telescope, that obtains extremely high resolution views ranging from about 0.5 to about 14 meters per pixel; (2) a red wide angle camera that is used to take context images, daily global maps, and other selected images; and (3) a blue wide angle camera that also acquires daily global maps, views of the martian limb, and other selected targets. Both wide angle cameras can obtain images with resolutions in the range of 0.24 to 7.5 kilometers per pixel.
The first images acquired by MOC were taken during the third orbit of MGS on 15 September 1997. MGS conducted a pre-mission series of observations between mid-September 1997 and February 1999. Then, MGS conducted its 1 Mars year Primary Mission from March 1999 through January 2001. The Extended Mission phase for MGS began in February 2001 and continues to this day.
Location near: 32.7°N, 185.1°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: lower left
Season: Northern Autumn