FYI --Hubble's Sharpest Views of Mars Available

From: (by way of Jan Wee <>)
Subject: FYI --Hubble's Sharpest Views of Mars Available
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 15:42:01 -0600

Dear discuss-lfm members,

Thought this would be of high interest to you all.

Jan Wee, moderator


Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington, DC     March 20, 1997
(Phone: 202/358-1547)

Tammy Jones
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 
(Phone: 301/286-5566)

Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD 
(Phone: 410/338-4514)



    New, sharpest-ever views of the planet Mars taken 
by the Wide Field Planetary Camera-2 (WFPC2) aboard 
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope on March 10, 1997 
(following the successful STS-82 Hubble second 
servicing mission), clearly show clouds, dust storms, 
polar caps and other bright and dark markings known to 
astronomers for more than a century. Taken just before 
Mars opposition -- when the red planet comes closest 
to the Earth this year (about 60 million miles or 100 
million km) -- the images were contained in a single 
picture element (pixel) in WFPC2's Planetary Camera 
which spans 13 miles (22 km) on the Martian surface.

    These images show the planet during the transition 
between spring and summer in the northern hemisphere 
(summer solstice). The annual north-polar, carbon-
dioxide frost (dry ice) cap is rapidly subliming, 
revealing the much smaller permanent water-ice cap, 
along with a few nearby detached regions of surface 

    Hubble is being used to monitor dust storm 
activity to support the Mars Pathfinder and Mars 
Global Surveyor Orbiter Missions, which are currently 
en route to Mars. Hubble's "weather report" from these 
images, is invaluable for Mars Pathfinder, which is 
scheduled for a July 4 landing. These images show no 
evidence for large-scale dust storm activity, which 
plagued a previous Mars mission in the early 1970s. 

Images are available to news media representatives by 
calling 202/358-1900. Photo numbers are:
      Color: Syrtis Major              97-HC-136
             Mars at Opposition        97-HC-137

    Image files are also available on the Internet on 
GIF and JPEG formats via anonymous ftp from 

     in /pubinfo

                        GIF               JPEG
Syrtis Major      gif/marssm97.gif   jpeg/marssm97.jpg
Mars at 
Opposition        gif/marssm97.gif   jpeg/marssm97.jpg

    Higher resolution digital versions (300 dpi JPEG) 
of the image are available in /pubinfo/hrtemp: 97-
09a.jpg (color) and 97-09abw.jpg (black and white).

    GIF and JPEG images, captions and information are 
available via World Wide Web at: and via 
links in: or 

                     - end -