Early Views of the Martian Surface from the Mars Orbiter Camera of Mars Global Surveyor

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Abstract

High-resolution images of the martian surface at scales of a few meters show ubiquitous erosional and depositional eolian landforms. Dunes, sandsheets, and drifts are prevalent and exhibit a range of morphology, composition (inferred from albedo), and age (as seen in occurrences of different dune orientations at the same location). Steep walls of topographic depressions such as canyons, valleys, and impact craters show the martian crust to be stratified at scales of a few tens of meters. The south polar layered terrain and superposed permanent ice cap display diverse surface textures that may reflect the complex interplay of volatile and non-volatile components. Low resolution regional views of the planet provide synoptic observations of polar cap retreat, condensate clouds, and the lifecycle of local and regional dust storms.

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