Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Polar Barchans

By SpaceRef Editor
July 20, 2004
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NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Polar Barchans
Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-793, 20 July 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows dark, barchan sand dunes of the north polar
region of Mars. Barchan dunes are simple, rounded forms with
two horns that extend downwind. Inequalities in local
wind patterns may result in one horn being extended farther
than the other, as is the case for several dunes in this
image. The image also shows several barchans may merge
to form a long dune ridge. The horns and attendant slip
faces on these dunes indicate wind transport of sand from
the upper left toward the lower right. The image is located
near 77.6°N, 103.6°W.
The picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide;
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.