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NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Polar Exposure

Status Report From: NASAJPL/MSSS
Posted: Monday, August 14, 2006

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1554, 14 August 2006

Medium-sized view of MGS MOC Picture of the Day, updated daily
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows an unconformity in a sequence of layered material in the martian north polar region. MGS MOC has been examining many similar examples of unconformities created by erosion in the polar region this year. Long ago, the lower set of layers was deposited. Then, deposition ceased, and erosion occurred for some period. Then, the erosional period ended, and new layers were deposited. The older layers—the ones deposited before the erosive event—today appear truncated by the younger, more evenly-bedded layers. No one is certain what composes the north polar layers; they may be sequences of dust and ice.
Location near: 84.3°N, 235.6°W
Image width: ~4 km (~2.5 mi)
Illumination from: lower left
Season: Northern Spring

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Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission. MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, California. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor Operations Project operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena, California and Denver, Colorado.

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