Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Defrosting South #2

By SpaceRef Editor
October 2, 2005
Filed under , , ,

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1237, 1 October 2005

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 a second view of varied springtime defrosting patterns formed in a dune field and surrounding polygon-patterned ground in the south polar region of Mars. The previous view was featured as a MOC Picture of the Day on 20 August 2005. Both images show portions of the same terrain and occur within a few hundred meters of each other. The previous release explained that the feature sporting an outline of dark spots and an interior of smaller, closely-spaced dark spots and dark-outlined polygons is a patch of windblown or wind-eroded sand that was covered by carbon dioxide frost during the previous autumn and winter. The fainter, larger polygon pattern on either side of the patch of defrosting sand is formed in the substrate upon which the sand patch is sitting. Polygonal forms such as these might indicate the presence of ice below the surface.

Location near: 79.9°S, 125.9°W

Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)

Illumination from: upper left

Season: Southern Spring

Tips for Media Use

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.