Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: North Polar Ice 12-25-2004

By SpaceRef Editor
December 25, 2004
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-951, 25 December 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

For 25 December, the MOC team thought that a visit
to a north polar site would be timely.
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows, at about 1.5 meters per pixel (~5 feet per pixel)
resolution, a view of the north polar ice cap of Mars.
That the material includes water ice has been known since
the mid-1970s, when Viking orbiter observations confirmed
that the cap gives off water vapor in the summertime, as
the ice is subliming away. The surface shown here, observed
by MOC during northern summer in November 2004, is pitted
and somewhat grooved. Dark material on pit floors might
be trapped, windblown dust. The picture covers an area
about 1 km (0.62 mi) across, and is
located near 86.8°N, 293.1°W.
Sunlight illuminates the scene 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.