Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera: Interplanetary cruise through primary mission


  • Michael C. Malin,

  • Kenneth S. Edgett


More than 3 years of high-resolution (1.5–20 m/pixel) photographic observations of the surface of Mars have dramatically changed our view of that planet. Among the most important observations and interpretations derived therefrom are that much of Mars, at least to depths of several kilometers, is layered; that substantial portions of the planet have experienced burial and subsequent exhumation; that layered and massive units, many kilometers thick, appear to reflect an ancient period of large-scale erosion and deposition within what are now the ancient heavily cratered regions of Mars; and that processes previously unsuspected, including gully-forming fluid action and burial and exhumation of large tracts of land, have operated within near-contemporary times. These and many other attributes of the planet argue for a complex geology and complicated history.