Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Polygons near Lyot Crater

By SpaceRef Editor
December 4, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-564, 4 December 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows patterned ground, arranged in the form of
polygons, on the undulating plains associated with ejecta
from the Lyot impact crater on the martian northern plains.
This picture was acquired in October 2003 and shows that the
polygon margins are ridges with large boulders—shown here
as dark dots—on them. On Earth, polygon patterns like this
are created in arctic and antarctic regions where there is
ice in the ground. The seasonal and longer-term cycles of
freezing and thawing of the ice-rich ground cause these
features to form over time. Whether the same is true for
Mars is unknown. The polygons are
located near 54.6°N, 326.6°W. The image covers an area 3 km
(1.9 mi) wide and is illuminated 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.