NET PICS: Mars Scar

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Science  05 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5369, pp. 1499c
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5369.1499c

This portrait of Mars made from 102 Viking Orbiter images comes from a gallery of stars and planets posted by NASA's data archive, the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC). Edwin Bell, who helps maintain two collections that include some 800 images (nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/photo_gallery/ and nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/imgcat/), says NSSDC created the sites in response to a barrage of public requests for the art. The most popular image, he says, is the “face” on Mars, an eerie Viking 1 shot of a bumpy region called Cydonia Mensae that gets about 2500 hits a week; runner-up is a photo of Earth from the Apollo 17 mission that's widely used in advertisements. Also included on the sites are interesting, unsung landscape features, Bell says. The 4000-kilometer-long Valles Marineris canyon system (the “portrait” mentioned above), for example, is the largest known chasm in the solar system and would stretch from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco.

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