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During its first 30 orbits around Mars, the Viking orbiter took approximately 1000 photographic frames of the surface of Mars with resolutions that ranged from 100 meters to a little more than 1 kilometer. Most were of potential landing sites in Chryse Planitia and Cydonia and near Capri Chasma. Contiguous high-resolution coverage in these areas has led to an increased understanding of surface processes, particularly cratering, fluvial, and mass-wasting phenomena. Most of the surfaces examined appear relatively old, channel features abound, and a variety of features suggestive of permafrost have been identified. The ejecta patterns around large craters imply that fluid flow of ejecta occurred after ballistic deposition. Variable features in the photographed area appear to have changed little since observed 5 years ago from Mariner 9. A variety of atmospheric phenomena were observed, including diffuse morning hazes, both stationary and moving discrete white clouds, and wave clouds covering extensive areas.
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Preliminary results from the Viking orbiter imaging experiment