Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: South Polar Sand Dunes

By SpaceRef Editor
November 30, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-560, 30 November 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This October 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows sand dunes in the southern high latitudes of Mars. Unlike dunes
at more northerly latitudes, south polar dunes tend to lack sharp,
crisp features. Instead, they are often rounded, smoothed, and, in some
cases (as toward the lower 1/3 of this image), flattened. These
observations suggest that south polar dunes may be somewhat
cemented and are presently (or fairly recently in the past)
undergoing erosion. This dune field is
located near 63.7°S, 201.2°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.