NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Craters near the edge of the retreating south polar seasonal frost cap often have fog in them, this time of year. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) wide angle red image was acquired just a few days ago on July 13, 2003. It shows a crater, 36 km (22 mi) across, that is enveloped in fog. This picture was taken as a context frame for a high resolution view that was intended to show dunes on the floor of the crater. That high resolution view was frustrated by thick fog that hid the dunes from view. This wide angle context frame shows that winds from the lower right (southeast) were blowing over the crater, causing the fog to bunch up in a wavy, rippled pattern. Winds streaming off the polar cap toward the north create a variety of patterns in the fogs formed by water ice or vapor as the seasonal cap retreats during southern spring. This picture is located at 66.4°S, 208.6°W, sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left (northwest).
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.