Newcomers from Mars Arrive at NSSDC

Volume 15, Number 4, December 1999

By David Williams

NASA's revived interest in Mars has led to new missions and a resulting flood of new data to NSSDC. Recently, NSSDC has received new CD-ROMs from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Camera, Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES), and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) as well as new high resolution mosaics from the Viking Orbiters. The MGS Camera CDs contain an archive of the raw images taken from orbit. The images have been decompressed and stripped of headers but are otherwise unprocessed and uncalibrated. There is a set of HTML documents that support a Web browser interface to the CD and browse images in JPEG format. For more detail on this set and information on ordering the CD-ROMs, readers can go to

The MGS TES data are also archived on CD-ROMs. The data are measurements of the thermal infrared spectra of the Martian surface and atmosphere. They consist of raw and calibrated radiance measurements and atmospheric and surface properties, such as temperature and heat capacity, derived from the radiance data. The data are stored in the form of tables. Software for reading the tables are included. More information can be found at

The MGS MOLA has been taking measurements of the Martian topography since the MGS began its orbit. The CD-ROMs in the MOLA archive contain tables with raw and corrected timing and positions of laser shots and returns and GIF images of topography profiles derived from the data. For more on this data set, readers can go to

These sets are not complete, and more CD-ROMs will continue to arrive at NSSDC as data continue to come in from the MGS mission. To support current and future Mars missions, Viking Orbiter data are also being processed. A set of high resolution digital mosaics of portions of the surface of Mars has been created as a complement to the lower resolution mosaics (1/256 degrees/pixel [231 m/pixel]) created earlier. These mosaics, at 1/1024 degree/pixel (~ 58 m/pixel), cover 5 x 5 degree regions on the surface and are contained on eight volumes. For details on these CD-ROMs and the areas covered, readers can go to

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Author:Miranda Beall
Curator:Lori Persichitti
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 15 MARCH 2000 [LAP]