Apr. 8, 2003 April 4, 2003 -- The winds of Mars leave their marks on many of the 11,664 new pictures being posted on the Internet by the camera team for NASA's Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission.
In one image the pattern of sand dunes on a patch of southern-hemisphere desert resembles scales on a fish. On a larger scale, full-globe Mars images show wispy water ice clouds shaped by winds as the seasons change. Other new images reveal details of features such as gullies, landslides and seasonal frost.
The new batch, taken between February and July 2002, brings the total number of images in the online gallery to more than 123,800.
MGS has been orbiting the red planet since Sept. 12, 1997. The mission has examined the entire Mars surface and provided a wealth of information about the planet's atmosphere and interior. Evaluation of landing sites for two Mars Exploration Rover missions, due to launch in the next three months, has relied heavily on mineral mapping, detailed imagery and topographic measurements by Global Surveyor.
"The extraordinary wealth of information contained in this unprecedented release of new views of Mars attests to the ongoing scientific value of the reconnaissance of Mars that has been provided by the Mars Global Surveyor for the past five years," said Dr. James B. Garvin, NASA's Lead Scientist for Mars Exploration, at NASA Headquarters, Washington.
"Indeed, there remain new discoveries to be made about the history of water, climate variability, and character of future landing sites from the continuing flow of images, spectra, and related measurements from the Global Surveyor," Garvin continued. "Without the new perspectives provided by MGS, the critical scientific and engineering assessment of potential landing sites for the Mars Exploration Rovers would not have been possible," he said.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. JPL's industrial partner is Lockheed Martin Astronautics (LMA), Denver. LMA developed and operates the spacecraft. The Mars Orbiter Camera is operated by Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego.
The images are available on the Internet from the Mars Orbiter Camera Gallery at: http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery
Additional information about the Mars Global Surveyor is available on the Internet at: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/
For more information about NASA and other space science programs on the Internet, visit: http://www.nasa.gov
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