Mars Global Surveyor Mapping Mission Begins
The mapping phase of the Mars Global Surveyor mission began in March of 1999. Through late January 2000, the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) will acquire high resolution images of the Mars surface showing objects as small as 1.5 meters across. A host of other instruments will gather data on the planets' topographic, thermal, mineral and magnetic properties.
This image was acquired on the first day of the mapping phase of the mission. The crater Galle (51.1° S, 31.3° W; 215 km across) is shown on the east side of Argyre Planitia. Due to its appearance, the crater has also been casually referred to as "happy face" crater.
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September 15, 1998.