Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Frosty Wind Streaks

By SpaceRef Editor
November 3, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-532, 2 November 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

As seasonal polar frosts sublime away each spring, winds
may re-distribute some of the frost or move sediment
exposed from beneath the frost. This action creates
ephemeral wind streaks that can be used by scientists
seeking to study the local circulation of the martian
atmosphere. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows a suite of wind streaks created in subliming
carbon dioxide frost. These dark streaks appear to conform
to the shape of the slopes on which they occur, suggesting
that slope winds play a dominant role in creating and
orienting these streaks. This picture is located
near 73.8°S, 305.7°W. The image is illuminated by
sunlight from the upper left and covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.
Winds responsible for the streaks generally blew from the bottom/right
(south/southeast) toward the top/upper left (north/northwest).

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.