NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
March 6, 2003, is the first day of spring in the martian southern hemisphere. As spring progresses in the south, dust devils will begin to form and sweep up some of the veneer of bright dust that accumulated during the recent autumn and winter seasons.
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows sand dunes in Wirtz Crater. The dark streaks that criss-cross each dune were probably formed by passing dust devils that disrupted or removed some of the thin layer of dust that coats the dunes. The picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide near 48.3°S, 25.4°W. Sunlight illuminates the scene 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.