NASA Adds to Mars Global Surveyor Photo Album

by Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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One of the highest-resolution images ever obtained from the red planet-- a view of gullies in a crater in the Newton Basin-- is among an astounding group of 18,812 images being added to NASA's Mars Global Surveyor online image gallery today.

Gullies in Newton Basin One of highest-resolution images obtained from Mars

The addition brings the total number of Global Surveyor archived images to 112,218, more than twice the number of pictures of Mars acquired by the two Viking orbiters of the 1970's.

Featured images include gullies from two different impact craters in Newton Basin in Sirenum Terra. One image has a resolution of 1.5 meters (5 feet) per pixel which means scientists can study features roughly the size of a school bus. Another image highlights wintertime frost on the crater wall and dark sand dunes on the floor.

The newly archived images were acquired between August 2001 and January 2002 and highlight visual weather events such as planet-wide dust storms and the springtime retreat of the south polar seasonal frost cap. Other images are being used by scientists to evaluate landing sites for the Mars Exploration Rover mission scheduled to launch in 2003.

Global Surveyor, launched Nov. 7, 1996, entered the Martian orbit on Sept. 12, 1997. The mission has studied the entire Martian surface, atmosphere, and interior, and has returned more data about the red planet than all other Mars missions combined.

Mars Global Surveyor is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. JPL's industrial partner is Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, which developed and operates the spacecraft. The Mars Orbiter Camera is operated by Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, Calif.