Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

April 17, 1998
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

Mars: Looking For Viking
Credit: Mars Global Surveyor Project, NASA

Explanation: On July 20, 1976, the Viking 1 lander touched down on the Martian Chryse Planitia. Its exact landing site is somewhere in the white rectangle above. Unfortunately, this wide angle Mars Global Surveyor image taken on April 12 reveals a substantial dust storm in the area with light colored plumes apparently blowing toward the upper right of the picture. Attempts to find the first spacecraft to land on Mars in the corresponding high resolution narrow field images have not been successful due in part to the increased atmospheric haze. The region shown here is about 100 miles across.

Tomorrow's picture: Star Wars

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.