Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Raising Dust 12-21-2003

By SpaceRef Editor
December 21, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-581, 21 December 2003




NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Dust storms are a common occurrence on the extremely arid
planet, Mars. However, very rarely do we get to see the actual
process of dust being lifted off the martian surface to
feed these dust storms.
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image captures some of the dust-raising process in action. The
picture shows a shallow trough with large, ripple-like
dunes on its floor. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the
upper left. Puffy, billowy clouds of dust obscure some of the
surface from view. Closer inspection shows streamers of dust,
streaking from left/upper left toward right/lower right, down
near the surface of the planet. It is in these streamers that
dust is being lifted from the ground.
This image is located near 29.6°S, 73.1°W, and
covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.

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.