NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) picture shows a pattern of polygons on the floor of a northern plains impact crater. These landforms are common on crater floors at high latitudes on Mars. Similar polygons occur in the arctic and antarctic regions of Earth, where they indicate the presence and freeze-thaw cycling of ground ice. Whether the polygons on Mars also indicate water ice in the ground is uncertain. The image is located in a crater at 64.8°N, 292.7°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.