Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Aligned Defrosting Dunes

By SpaceRef Editor
August 17, 2004
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-821, 17 August 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This July 2004 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows a group of aligned barchan sand dunes in the
martian north polar region. At the time, the dunes were covered
with seasonal frost, but the frost had begun to sublime away, leaving
dark spots and dark outlines around the dunes. The surrounding
plains exhibit small, diffuse spots that are also the result
of subliming seasonal frost.
This northern spring image, acquired on a descending
ground track (as MGS was moving north to south on
the “night” side of Mars) is located
near 78.8°N, 34.8°W.
The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across
and sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left.

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.

SpaceRef staff editor.