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NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Springtime Dunes

Status Report From: NASAJPL/MSSS
Posted: Friday, August 25, 2006

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1565, 25 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 part of a dune field in Chasma Boreale, the large north polar trough. The bright material covering the dunes is frozen carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide frost accumulates during the northern autumn and winter, and sublimes away (turns directly from solid to gas) during the spring and summer. The image was acquired near the end of the northern spring. The dark areas in this image are places where the frost sublimed away, revealing the coarse dark sand of the dunes.
Location near: 84.5°N, 19.2°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 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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