NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars Observer image of the Red Planet. The first image of Mars made by NASA's Mars Observer spacecraft. This image was made from a distance of 5.8 million kilometres on 26 July 1993. The north polar region is at top, with the south pole near the bottom but in shadow. The large dark area at centre is Syrtis Major, a vast volcanic plain. The brighter region at bottom right of the planet is the Hellas impact basin, some 2000 km in diameter. This was the only image returned by Mars Observer before contact was lost on 21 August 1993. It was programmed to automatically enter a 400 km orbit on 24 August, and start high- resolution mapping on 16 December 1993.
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