Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: South Polar Layers 10-17-2003

By SpaceRef Editor
October 17, 2003
Filed under , , ,

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-516, 17 October 2003


NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image
shows eroded, stair-stepped layers in the south polar region
of Mars. These layers have been considered, for the past
three decades, to consist of a mixture of dust and ice.
The Mars Polar Lander (MPL) mission was designed to test this
hypothesis. However, sadly, MPL was lost during descent
in December 1999. This exposure of south polar layered material
is located
near 86.3°S, 187.7°W. The image covers an area 3 km
(1.9 mi) wide and is illuminated by sunlight 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.