Hubble's Sharpest View of Mars — August 24, 2003
This view of Mars from the Hubble Space Telescope's new Advanced Camera for Surveys provides the sharpest view of the red planet attainable by the Earth-oribiting observatory. The picture was taken August 24, when Mars was approximately 34.7 million miles from Earth.
The central linear feature running from left to right is Valles Marineris, a 2,480-mile (4,000-km) system of canyons. Sunlight illuminates one wall of the canyon, creating a striking white linear feature. To the bottom left lies Solis Lacus (Lake of the Sun) At far left is the great Tharsis plateau. A chain of three dormant volcanoes can barely be seen along the left limb.
At far right, the great dusty desert Arabia Terra is pockmarked with ancient impact craters. The bright desert in the center of the image is Xanthe Terra. The upper left corner of this desert is the site where the NASA Viking 1 spacecraft landed on Mars in 1976. Because of Mars's tilt, the icy north polar cap cannot be seen. It is just over the top limb.
Each pixel (picture element) in this black-and-white image is only 3.5 miles (6 km) across.
NASA, J. Bell (Cornell U.) and M. Wolff (SSI);
Additional image processing and analysis support from: K. Noll and A. Lubenow (STScI); M. Hubbard (Cornell U.); R. Morris (NASA/JSC); P. James (U. Toledo); S. Lee (U. Colorado); and T. Clancy, B. Whitney and G. Videen (SSI); and Y. Shkuratov (Kharkov U.)