Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: South Polar Artwork

By SpaceRef Editor
August 18, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-456, 18 August 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Nature has created some interesting artwork on the
south polar residual cap of Mars. This July 2003
Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows an example. The patterns in this picture
are formed by erosion and sublimation of multiple
layers of frozen carbon dioxide. The artwork is
ephemeral and changing with each passing summer.
By the end of the coming southern summer, the
scarps in this area will have retreated an average
of 3 meters (3.3 yards); some of the smaller
buttes and ridges will have vanished. This picture
covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is located
near 86.6°S, 358.2°W.
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.