ScienCentral News
 
environment general science genetics health and medicine space technology May 15, 2003 
home NOVA News Minutes archive login

is a production of
ScienCentral, Inc.
Making Sense of Science

Also of Interest
Lift to the Heavens (video)

Galactic Real Estate (video)

Sound Shaper (video)

Virtual Reality and Vision (video)

Thinking Small (video)

2001: A Mars Odyssey (video)

NEARly Done

Space School

Galactic Germs

Video Vision

Faster, Better, Cheaper?

3-D Universe

Compton Comes Down

Space Station Slowdown

Fly Me To The Moon

NOVA News Minutes
Visit the NOVA News Minutes archive.
ScienCentral News and Nature
Nature genome promo logo
Don’t miss Enter the Genome
our collaboration with Nature.
Best of the Web!
Popular Science Best of the Web 2000
Selected one of Popular Science’s 50 Best of the Web.
Get Email Updates
Write to us and we will send you an email when a new feature appears on the site.
Space Smile
April 08, 1999

Mars smiley face
image: NASA/JPL/MSSS

A happy greeting from Mars to Earth came via The Mars Global Surveyor, a mission launched in November of 1996 by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories. Mars Global Surveyor sent images of the smile on the first day of its Mapping Phase in the second week of March, 1999. Malin Space Science Systems and the Caltech built the Mars Orbiter Camera, the hi-tech camera that Global Surveyor carries onboard to snap pictures of the Red Planet’s surface.

image: NASA/JPL

Mars Global Surveyor confirms that it is indeed a unique geological formation. Viking Orbiter I first photographed this "Happy Face Crater," known as the Galle (pronounced GAL-UH) Crater, in 1976 (Viking Orbiter I photo right). The crater is named after Johann Galle, who is attributed with discovering Neptune in 1846.

Although found at the same time as the Galle Crater, the "Mars Face," overshadowed the Galle Crater in the imaginations of the public. Mars Global Surveyor’s camera revealed that what had looked like a giant human skull to Viking Orbiter I was actually a mundane geological formation.

image: NASA/JPL

Elsewhere on the Web

Mars Global Surveyor stats, facts, and links

"Happy Face" crater press release from Malin Space Science Systems

NASA’s photojournal archives of planets in the solar system taken by various missions

A list of craters on Mars and their namesakes



by Joyce Gramza


About Search Login Help Webmaster
ScienCentral News is a production of ScienCentral, Inc.
in collaboration with the Center for Science and the Media.
248 West 35th St., 17th Fl., NY, NY 10001 USA (212) 244-9577.
The contents of these WWW sites © ScienCentral, 2000-2003. All rights reserved.
The views expressed in this website are not necessarily those of the NSF.
NOVA News Minutes and NOVA are registered trademarks of WGBH Educational Foundation and are being used under license.