Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: South Polar Scarps

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

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-438, 31 July 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

The terrain of the south polar residual ice cap, made up mostly of
frozen carbon dioxide, has come to be known by many as “swiss
cheese terrain,” because many areas of the cap resemble slices
of swiss cheese. However, not all of the south polar cap
looks like a tasty lunch food. This
Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image
shows a series of curving scarps formed by erosion and sublimation
of carbon dioxide from the south polar cap. This area is located
near 86.3°S, 51.2°W. The image is illuminated by
sunlight from the upper left; the area is about 1.5 km (0.9 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.