The Airport Terminal - also known as Mariner 9 #4209-75

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Holger Isenberg, February 2001

crater in same orientation,
to compare shadows
This object is named in many books and other publications as "Airport-Terminal". Not one of those sources shows the correct image ID# for finding the original data in the NASA-archives. The best reference is from David Hatcher Childress' book Extraterrestrial Archeology, where the coordinates are given: 1.9S 186.4W and the image-ID 4209-75.

This image-ID is not used by NASA (anymore?) and so I had to search the data by coordinates. After a short search in February 2001, I found the correct image:

Note, that the object is not a group of mesas rising out of the plains, as it is described in the sources named above. It is a system of trenches in an area over about 5 x 5 km2. The whole original image streches over an area of exact 55 x 42 km2.

If you now say, that all socalled anomalous objects on Mars are just natural eroded hills or cracks, than you haven't seen this 500 meter long trench:


Some technical data about the "4209-75" image, the complete EDR Image Record:

177B1732 05450 AREA CONTAIN CRACKS OF MANY SHAPES AND SIZES B35 (RAA Text Describing Image)
1 INST_NUM Instrument Number
1972 MTYR Measurement Time Year (GMT time of TV shutter close)
41 MTDAY Measurement Time Day (GMT time of TV shutter close)
11 MTHR Measurement Time Hour (GMT time of TV shutter close)
43 MTMIN Measurement Time Minute (GMT time of TV shutter close)
26 MTSEC Measurement Time Second (GMT time of TV shutter close)
386 MTMIL Measurement Time Millisecond (GMT time of TV shutter close)
7938348 DAS_TIME Spacecraft Data Acquisition System Time (DAS time of TV shutter close)
72 ERTYR Earth Received Time Year
41 ERTDAY Earth Received Time Day
21 ERTHR Earth Received Time Hour
53 ERTMIN Earth Received Time Minute
42 ERTSEC Earth Received Time Second
312 ERTMIL Earth Received Time Millisecond
854 TBP Time Before Periapsis, Seconds (time from closest approach)
NULL DN (typo? should be ON?) Orbit Number
0 DODSYR Date of Orbit Solution
0 DAS_SER DAS Serial Number
7938353 DAS_ERT DAS Earth Received Time, Approximately DAS Time of Shuttle (sic) + 5 Counts
2004 SC_ALT Spacecraft Altitude Above Surface
281.79 SP_CL_A Scan Platform Clock Angle, Degrees (cross cone angle)
120.13 SP_CO_A Scan Platform Cone Angle, Degrees (cone angle)
.11 SP_T_A Scan Platform Twist Angle, Degrees
0 SP_IMF Scan Platform in Motion Flag
34.16 SC_TA Spacecraft True Anomaly Angle
3.4 SC_TV Spacecraft Trangential (sic) Velocity, KM/SEC
.7 SC_RV Spacecraft Radial Velocity, KM/SEC
42.21 SLAR_5 Solar Lighting Angle For Reticle 5 (Zenith Angle of Sun at Mars Surface Corresponding to Image Point Reticle 5) (incidence angle at picture center)
41.69 SLAR_1 incidence angle at upper left (as above)
42.59 SLAR_3 incidence angle at upper right (as above)
41.84 SLAR_7 incidence angle at lower left (as above)
42.74 SLAR_9 incidence angle at lower right (as above)
59.86 SAR_9 (typo? should be PAR_5? = phase angle at center)
60.56 SAR_1 (typo? should be PAR_1? = phase angle at upper left)
59.15 SAR_3 (typo? should be PAR_3? = phase angle at upper right)
60.57 PAR_7 Phase Angle for Reticle 7 (Angle Subtended By Sun And Spacecraft at Mars Surface Corresponding to Image Point Reticle 7)
59.15 PAR_9 phase angle at lower right (as above)
25.35 PAR_5 (typo? should be VAR_5? = emission angle at center)
25.73 VAR_1 Viewing Angle For Reticle 1 (Zenith Angle of Spacecraft at Mars Surface Corresponding to Image Point Reticle 1) (emission angle at upper left)
23.84 VAR_3 emission angle at upper right (as above)
26.87 VAR_7 emission angle at lower left (as above)
25.05 VAR_9 emission angle at lower right (as above)
1 TRF Telemetry Received Flag
-2.01 LR_5 Latitude of Reticle Point 5 (picture center)
-1.88 LR_1 Latitude of Reticle Point 1 (upper left)
-1.47 LR_3 Latitude of Reticle Point 3 (upper right)
-2.56 LR_7 Latitude of Reticle Point 7 (lower left)
-2.13 LR_9 Latitude of Reticle Point 9 (lower right)
186.54 LOR_5 Longitude of Reticle Point 5 (picture center)
187.09 LOR_1 Longitude of Reticle Point 1 (upper left)
186.25 LOR_3 Longitude of Reticle Point 3 (upper right)
186.84 LOR_7 Longitude of Reticle Point 7 (lower left)
185.99 LOR_9 Longitude of Reticle Point 9 (lower right)
2131 SRR_5 Slant Range to Reticle Point 5, KM (picture center)
2135 SRR_1 slant distance/range to upper left (as above)
2116 SRR_3 slant distance/range to upper right (as above)
2148 SRR_7 slant distance/range to lower left (as above)
2128 SRR_9 slant distance/range to lower right (as above)
0 LCFR_5 Limb Crossing Flag for Reticle 5
-1936 AOA Altitude of Optic Axis, KM
12805 SRP Slant Range to Phobos, KM
25179 SRD Slant Range to Deimos, KM
38.9 ASD Angular Semi-Diameter of Planet
64.03 XI Osculating Inclination
12 GMAP S/C Flight Path Angle
6 SLAT Latitude of Sub S/C Point (sub-spacecraft latitude)
182 SLON Longitude of Sub S/C Point (sub-spacecraft longitude)
9 STP Angle at Center of Planet Between Los and R
5391 RMAG Radial Distance to Center of Planet, KM
-7.14 ZLAT Latitude of Subsolar Point (sub-solar latitude)
228.60 ZLON Longitude of Subsolar Point (sub-solar longitude)
49.28 SS1 Shadow Coordinate of Phobos, Latitude
-688.96 SS12 Shadow Coordinate of Phobox, Longitude
49.28 SS2 Shadow Coordinate of Deimos, Latitude
-688.96 SS23 Shadow Coordinate of Deimos, Longitude
4.53 PPS5 scaled pixel height/width at picture center (Projected Pixel Size of Reticle 5, KM)
4.57 PPS1 scaled pixel height/width at upper left (as above)
4.46 PPS3 scaled pixel height/width at upper right (as above)
4.60 PPS7 scaled pixel height/width at lower left (as above)
4.49 PPS9 scaled pixel height/width at lower right (as above)
.00 PDEC5 Declination of Reticle 5, Degrees
.00 PRA5 Right Ascension of Reticle 5
14.80 MHA Mars Local Time (Hour Angle From Sub-Solar Point)
197 SUNNAN Sun Direction in Image, Degrees
59 SPANG Angle at Planet Between Sun and Los Intercept
125 SHPSV Angle at Los Between Sun and Los Intercept
.00 AZPHA Tilt Azimuth, Degrees
4194 RL Range to Limb, KM
-49.28 LATL Latitude of Left Limb Extreme
-49.28 LATR Latitude of Right Limb Extreme
-49.28 LATC Latitude of Center of Limb
-49.28 LONR Longitude of Left Limb Extreme
-49.28 LONL Longitude of Right Limb Extreme
-49.28 LONG (typo? should be LONC?) Longitude of Center of Limb
291 NORAN Direction of North in Image Plane, Degrees (north azimuth)
320 SPL05 Angle in Picture Frame Between Sun-S/C Point and Frame Axis at Los
197 SSL05 Angle in Picture Frame Between Subsolar Point and Frame Axis at Los
15 PST05 Angle at Spacecraft Between Los and Vector to Center of Planet
55 PP1835H Picture Planet Height (picture height in km; scaled image height)
42 PP1835W Picture Planet Width (picture width in km; scaled image width)
0 MDEED Mars Date (Equivalent Earth Date), Month
0 MDAY Mars Date (Equivalent Earth Date), Day (planet day number
13 FIL_ID Filter ID (filter name)
0 FIL_MODE Filter Mode (filter number)
1 EI Exposure Interval (instrument exposure duration)
0 EM Exposure Mode (instrument mode identification)
0 CAM_ID Camera ID
35 PIC_ID Picture ID (revolution number; frame identification)
698 LINES Number of Lines in Picture
13 APV Average Pixel Value
0 VT Vidicon Temperature
2268.92 VR1 Planet Center to Spacecraft (Vectors) (target center distance)
-4142.54 VR2 Centered Earth Equatorial 1950.0 (Vectors)
-2599.65 VR3 Coordinates (Vectors)
.798210 C11 C Matrix (Column 1, Row 1)
.538030 C12 C Matrix (Column 1, Row 2)
.270892 C13 C Matrix (Column 1, Row 3)
.052984 C21 C Matrix (Column 2, Row 1)
.385252 C22 C Matrix (Column 2, Row 2)
-.921288 C23 C Matrix (Column 2, Row 3)
-.600043 C31 C Matrix (Column 3, Row 1)
.749735 C32 C Matrix (Column 3, Row 2)
.279005 C33 C Matrix (Column 3, Row 3)
6.6661 ISLAT ?
182.0936 RSLON ?
291.1638 SNORAN ?
-1.67 LR_2 Latitude of Reticle Point 2
186.67 LOR_2 Longitude of Reticle Point 2
-2.22 LR_4 Latitude of Reticle Point 4
186.97 LOR_4 Longitude of Reticle Point 4
-1.80 LR_6 Latitude of Reticle Point 6
186.12 LOR_6 Longitude of Reticle Point 6
-2.34 LR_8 Latitude of Reticle Point 8
186.41 LOR_8 Longitude of Reticle Point 8
15.4851 QST ?
-1.9210 QLAT Latitude of Point Q, Q Point Is Near Reticle Point 5, It Is The Center of the Optic Axis
186.5364 QLON Longitude of Point Q
2131.89 QSRR_5 ?
2129.75 SRR_Q Slant Range to Point Q, KM
90.1866 QANG ?
TV*B MEAS_ID Measurement ID (Instrument ID; TV Camera ID)
75 SC_ID Spacecraft ID
H093 OSN Orbit Solution Number
177B1732 054 MDR_NUM Command Master Data Record Number
92**EDR***** EDR_NUM EDR Number

Holger Isenberg