Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Dunes in Twilight

By SpaceRef Editor
January 17, 2004
Filed under , , ,

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-608, 17 January 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows frost-covered north polar dunes in early
January 2004. When this picture was taken, the dunes
were in twilight, just before the late winter dawn
that would come a few days later. These dunes spent many
of the last several months in complete darkness. In this
image, they are illuminated only by sunlight that has
been scattered over the horizon by the martian atmosphere.
These dunes are located
near 77.0°N, 246.2°W. The image covers
an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and has been expanded by
200% from its original 12 meters (39 ft.) per pixel
scale. While the sun had not yet risen when the image
was obtained, illumination is mostly from the lower 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.