Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Martian City Map

By SpaceRef Editor
May 30, 2004
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-742, 30 May 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Seasonal frost can enhance the view from orbit of polar
polygonal patterns on the surface of Mars. Sometimes
these patterns look something like a city map, or the
view from above of a city lit-up at night.
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows an example from the south polar region
near 80.7°S, 70.6°W.
Polar polygons on Mars
are generally believed, though not proven, to be the
result of freeze/thaw cycles of ice occurring within
the upper few meters (several yards) of the martian
subsurface. The image shown here
covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across;
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.