This portion of a daytime IR image covers the Viking 2 landing site (shown with the X). The second landing on Mars took place September 3, 1976 in Utopia Planitia. The exact location of Lander 2 is not as well established as Lander 1 because there were no clearly identifiable features in the lander images as there were for the site of Lander 1. The Utopia landing site region contains pedestal craters, shallow swales and gentle ridges. The crater Goldstone was named in honor of the Tracking Station in the desert of California. The two Viking Landers operated for over 6 years (nearly four martian years) after landing. This one band IR (band 9 at 12.6 microns) image shows bright and dark textures, which are primarily due to differences in the abundance of rocks on the surface. The relatively cool (dark) regions during the day are rocky or indurated materials, fine sand and dust are warmer (bright). Many of the temperature variations are due to slope effects, with sun-facing slopes warmer than shaded slopes. The dark rings around several of the craters are due to the presence of rocky (cool) material ejected from the crater. These rocks are well below the resolution of any existing Mars camera, but THEMIS can detect the temperature variations they produce. Daytime temperature variations are produced by a combination of topographic (solar heating) and thermophysical (thermal inertia and albedo) effects. Due to topographic heating the surface morphologies seen in THEMIS daytime IR images are similar to those seen in previous imagery and MOLA topography.
Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.