Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Defrosting Scene

By SpaceRef Editor
November 1, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-531, 1 November 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This June 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
picture shows patterns created by subliming carbon dioxide
frost in the south polar region of Mars. The circular feature
on the west (left) side of the image is a meteor impact
crater; its center is just out of view. The dark, spotted
features at the bottom and right are patches of windblown
sand that have been covered with frost. In this springtime
image, the frost has been subliming away for several months.
As frost is removed from the patches of sand, it creates
a pattern of dark spots. This picture is located
near 66.1°S, 322.6°W. The image is illuminated by
sunlight from the upper left and covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.

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.