A Comparison of Visible and Topographic Data for the Martian South Pole: Version 1

  • Released Monday, November 22nd, 1999
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:58PM
  • ID: 767

This is one of a series of visualizations showing false-colored renderings of the Martian topography measured by MOLA in the vicinity of the Mars Polar Lander landing site. Blue tones represent elevations of less than 2 kilometers, while reddish tones are greater than about 2.8 kilometers, relative to the mean equatorial height of Mars. The elevation of the landing site is about 2.4 km, midway into the polar layered terrain. The 400 meters (¼ mile) resolution of the MOLA data gives a smoothed but vertically exaggerated view of the topography. At this scale it is impossible to ascertain the actual roughness at the lander's destination, forcing project directors to make their best guesses based on available data.

Rotating a Martian globe, using Viking imagery, to the south pole and fading to topography data from MOLA, showing that large portions of the ice cap may be covered by dust. Note that the permanent frozen cap of carbon dioxide ice is not located directly at the south pole. White colors indicate elevations in excess of 3012 meters, and dark violet shows elevations from 320 to 2150 meters.

A false color image of the topography of the Martioan south pole overlaid with an outline denoting the visible polar cap

A false color image of the topography of the Martioan south pole overlaid with an outline denoting the visible polar cap

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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio


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