A Rotating False Color View of the Martian South Pole from MOLA

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

The visible Martian south polar cap appears outlined in black, but the accompanying false color data shows the topographically inferred extent of the polar layered terrain.

The visible Martian south polar cap appears outlined in black, but the accompanying false color data shows the topographically inferred extent of the polar layered terrain.

False color image of Mars from MOLA data. Here the color scale shows the darkest blues as roughly 8 km below the mean equatorial height, while reds indicate elevations up to 5 km above the mean equatorial height.

False color image of Mars from MOLA data. Here the color scale shows the darkest blues as roughly 8 km below the mean equatorial height, while reds indicate elevations up to 5 km above the mean equatorial height.

MOLA data of Martian topography highlighting the differences in elevation between the Hellas Impact Basin and surrounding terrain. The deepest point in Hellas is roughly 8200 meters below the equatorial mean.

MOLA data of Martian topography highlighting the differences in elevation between the Hellas Impact Basin and surrounding terrain. The deepest point in Hellas is roughly 8200 meters below the equatorial mean.

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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio


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