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Space Pictures / Mars (Original)

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Title: Mars Observer

Source: Mars Observer

Information: Photograph of the planet Mars taken at 8:52 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on July 26, 1993 by the high resolution, narrow angle telescope of the Mars Observer Camera. At that time, the Mars Observer spacecraft was 5.8 million kilometers (3.6 million miles) and 28 days from its encounter with Mars. The resolution in this image is approximately 21.5 km (13.4 mi) per picture element and Mars, roughly 6800 km (4200 miles) in diameter, is about 315 picture elements across. North is to the top of the image; the south pole is near the bottom but in shadow. The sunrise line (terminator) stretches across the morning hemisphere from lower right to upper left. At this distance from Mars, only bright and dark markings resulting from variations in the amount and thickness of dust and sand are visible. Toward the bottom of the picture is a bright, roughly circular area called Hellas, an impact basin 2000 km (1250 mi) across. The dark area in the center of the frame is Syrtis Major, a region of volcanic plains and dark sand dunes. At the top of the photograph is Nilosyrtis, an area of buttes, mesas and box canyons reminiscent of the deserts of the southwest United States. The Mars Observer Camera was developed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory by an industry/university team led by Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, California.