Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Dust-Raising Event 12-29-2003

By SpaceRef Editor
December 29, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-589, 29 December 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Small dust storms are common in the south polar region during
summer. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows an example of a south polar dust-raising event caught
by the narrow angle camera. The small, somewhat circular features
at the lower right of the frame are pits in the martian surface. Moving
from the bottom to top of the image, first there is a view of
the pitted surface, followed by a zone of long, thin
streamers of dust being lifted from the surface, followed by—at
the top one third of the image—the billowy clouds of the
dust storm. This image is important because it shows
long, thin streamers of dust actually being raised from the
martian surface to feed the dust storm.
The picture is located near
87.0°S, 170.6°W. The area shown is about 3 km
(1.9 mi) wide; 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.