One of the more interesting and appealing activities of the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) observational objectives identified in the original 1985 Mars Observer proposal was to image landers on the martian surface. The scientific goal of this objective is to place the landers into their geologic context, which in turn helps the science community to better understand the results from the landers. In addition to this, the MOC team believed that it would be “really neat” to see the landers sitting on the surface. In previous releases, we have shown images of Viking Lander 1, Mars Pathfinder, and the two Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. To this group of landers we can now add with certainty Viking Lander 2 (VL-2), the location of which has been uncertain by many kilometers for nearly 30 years. We also believe that we have found a candidate for the location of the Mars Polar Lander, which failed without a trace on 3 December 1999.
MGS Finds Viking Lander 2 and Mars Polar Lander (Maybe) Malin Space Science Systems
Opportunity Rover As Seen From Orbit Malin Space Science Systems
The Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B), Opportunity, landed on the red planet a year ago. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) cPROTO image (0.5 cm/pixel) is the only picture obtained thus far that shows the tracks made by the Opportunity rover. This is a sub-frame of MOC image R16-02188. It was acquired on 26 April 2004, during Opportunity’s 91st sol–the first day of the MER-B Extended Mission. At that time, Opportunity had recently completed exploration of nearby Fram Crater, and was enroute toward Endurance Crater, where it would eventually spend most of the rest of 2004. The rover itself can be seen in this image– an amazing accomplishment, considering that the MGS spacecraft was nearly 400 kilometers (nearly 250 miles) away at the time!
Happy Valentine’s Day 2004 Malin Space Science Systems
Happy St. Valentine’s Day from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) team! This collection of images acquired over the past 3 Mars years shows some of the heart-shaped features found on Mars by the MGS MOC.