Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Syrtis Major Dune Field

By SpaceRef Editor
December 20, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-580, 20 December 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows barchan sand dunes west of the Meroe Patera
volcanic caldera in central Syrtis Major. The winds that shape
these dunes blow from the right/upper right (northeast).
The surface across which the dunes have traveled is probably
composed of volcanic rocks; the dunes, too, may have volcanic
materials, such as sand-sized grains of tephra–volcanic ash–in them.
This October 2003 view is
located near 7.4°N, 292.3°W, and
covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.
Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower 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.