Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Defrosting Features

By SpaceRef Editor
May 29, 2005
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1106, 29 May 2005

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a surface in the south polar region, covered by carbon dioxide frost. In this springtime scene, the frost has begun to sublime or change character so that sandy surfaces exhibit an abundance of dark spots. The circular depression is probably the remains of an impact crater. In summer, the spotted surfaces in this image would be darker than their surroundings, because they are patches of windblown sand.

Location near: 67.6°S, 254.3°W

Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)

Illumination from: upper left

Season: Southern Spring

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.