NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Every day, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) wide angle instruments obtain a global view of the planet to help monitor weather and seasonal patterns of frost deposition and removal. The two pictures shown here are taken from the same daily global image mosaic (the only difference is that each was processed slightly differently). The pictures show Galle Crater, informally known as "Happy Face," as it appeared in early southern winter. The white-ish gray surfaces are coated with wintertime carbon dioxide frost. The pattern of frost distribution gives the appearance that "Happy Face" has opened its mouth. Galle Crater is located on the east rim of Argyre at 51°S, 31°W. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left. Galle Crater is 230 km (143 mi) across.
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.