NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image is a springtime view of frost-covered layers revealed by an eroded scarp in the martian north polar cap. The layers are thought to consist of a mixture of dust, ice, and possibly sand. Some layers are known to be a source for dark sand that occurs in nearby dunes. During the summer, this surface would be considerably darker because most of the bright frost sublimes away during the spring season. The picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide near 85.2°N, 4.4°W. 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.