Resolving Mars Polar Lander on the Surface of Mars

The Mars Observer Camera (MOC) on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) orbiter has been imaging Mars since 1997 at resolutions down to 1.5 m per pixel. This has enabled us to see features on the surface of Mars in unprecedented detail.

When the Mars Polar Lander was lost during touch down phase in December 1999, the MOC team was asked to assist in locating the craft. This page explores the possibility of seeing the MPL craft in MOC images.

Artist's impression of Mars Polar Lander
on the surface of Mars.

Click on the links on the right to view a model of Mars Path Finder at various resolutions.


  1. As the resolution increases, more and more detail becomes visible.
  2. The best resolution obtainable from the MOC on MGS is about 1.5 m/pixel. It is very unlikely that we will see MPL directly in an MOC image.
Click the different resolutions.
1.5 m/pixel
1.0 m/pixel
0.5 m/pixel
0.2 m/pixel
0.1 m/pixel
0.01 m/pixel

Images from
Malin Space Science Systems
MPL Search Page

Mars Global Surveyor Home Page