Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Birthday - Mars Global Surveyor

Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) turned 10 today (11/7/06), having been launcheded on 7 November 1996. MGS spacecraft reached Mars on 12 September 1997, and as reported by NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "has been observing the ever-changing red planet over the course of the past 5 martian years."

The photograph:

Two annular (i.e., somewhat circular) clouds are seen in the upper left corner of this mosaic of MOC wide angle camera daily global mapping images. To the right of the picture's center is the martian north polar cap. The image has a scale of about 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) per pixel. Annular clouds are common in mid-northern summer in the north polar region, and may result from eddy currents in the lower atmosphere. The appearance of such clouds happens every year; this year they came like clockwork within a two-week forecasted period, based on the previous 4 martian years of experience gained from MGS MOC daily global imaging.

Photograph NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems.

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